There is much to be excited about this time of year, and possibly no player has more to be amped up about then Dara Mabrey. The talented floor general was selected as the New Jersey Player of the Year as a junior in 2017. Manasquan also made an incredible tournament run, but fell short in the championship game to Franklin. Thedribbledrop & NJHoopRecruit are honored to introduce Dara as one of first diarists. Check back throughout the season as Dara gives us an insider look at the life of a star student athlete playing basketball on the highest level in New Jersey.
As told to Christian Mordi / @mordi_thecomeup
Hello everyone! My name is Dara Mabrey and I am a guard for Manasquan High. I will be checking in with you guys twice a month to share my journey throughout my senior season!
This spring and summer this year was very intense in regards to AAU and skill development. On the next level, I will play point guard full time, so I worked very hard to hone my skills. I focused on getting into the paint and making the right play between shooting and dishing it off. In regards to AAU, I played ball with the NYC Exodus. I loved playing with them. The girls in New York have a very tough and gritty style of play. Playing with them made me tougher. Shoutouts to my girls Jenna, Aziah, Destiny, Donnetta, Grace, Lola Emma and Shanniah! I hit the ground running in the EYBL this spring. I had the leading three point percentage during the first session. After the end of the next two sessions, I was the second leading scorer in the EYBL. The circuit is very tough. I played 2-3 games a day against some of the best players in the nation. The best person I played against was guard Ashley Owusu (editor’s note, Ashley is currently ranked #8 overall in the class of 2019 and committed to Maryland.) Our bodies are different, so it was a clash of styles.
On all my visits, I wrote down the pros and cons for each school I went to. When I did one for Virginia Tech, I couldn’t think of anything I didn't like about the school. I’m big on having a strong relationship with the coaching staff. I have a great relationship with my coach on and off the floor at Manasquan. I wanted to continue that at Virginia Tech. I felt that immediately during my first call with the coach. I also loved the feel of the campus. Stylistically, it’s a beautiful place. It’s very pretty. Combine all of that with the great education they offer and I knew it was the place for me. I chose before the season because I didn’t want it to be a distraction. Having both of my sisters go to Notre Dame and going another route was emotional but I know in my heart at made the right choice. Heading into the season, I wanted my mind focused on one thing and that was winning the Tournament of Champions.
Our first couple of practices have been great. We lost a lot of key pieces from our team last year, but everyone is focused and ready to step up. I love how we all as a unit have collectively bought in. We all do a great job at playing our role on both sides of the floor. The practices have been intense and physical, which I know will make us better down the line. Faith and I have a lot of two man action going on. Lola is also in for a big year, she’s a lethal shooter.
So far we have had two scrimmages. We schedule teams with different styles, which help us best prepare for everyone early on. Our first one was against St. John’s Vianney. They are a very aggressive team who loves to apply pressure and trap on defense. Our second one was against Pascack Valley. They run a fluid offense and are very disciplined on both sides of the floor. They love to shoot the three so we had to close out hard all game. They kept us on our toes.
Off the court, I’m a super friendly person! I love to chat and get to know people! I love being in front of the camera and want to pursue some type of role with that after college career wise. I also go to the beach an unreal amount during the summer time! I love to just sit there and vibe out. I can sit there for hours.
‘Til next time,