Not all that much was expected from Serra High boys basketball this season. Check that. Any squad coached by Chuck Rapp is going to be competitive but 2013-14 would be minus Henry Caruso, plus guards Eddie Stansbury, Jacqui Biggins and Andre Miller. However, backcourter Danny Mahoney had a remaining season of eligibility.
It certainly was a team effort but the production of and leadership from the 6-foot Mahoney were heavily responsible for keeping Serra on the winning side this go-around to the tune of a 22-9 overall record, 11-3 in the tough West Catholic Athletic League (WCAL). The evidence to buttress that statement: Rapp's squad went 25-6 and 12-2 the year before when so much more firepower and talent was available. Mahoney provided a game average of 18.4 points, 5.1 assists and 4.9 rebounds.
Recently named a WCAL First Team honoree after missing even honorable mention status the previous year, Mahoney enjoyed some particularly strong efforts this season. There was 35 points against St. Francis, seven treys versus Bellarmine on his way to 30 points plus five treys in a quarter in defiance of St. Ignatius during the Jungle Game.
Mahoney and Company also came close to reaching the NorCal championship game this season. On March 18, it took Folsom High outscoring Serra 23-14 in the fourth quarter to end the season for the Padres, 58-57.
So what does the 2014 prospect see as his top skills on the court?
"My passing and shooting ability but mainly my basketball IQ. As a freshman, I was just more athletic than most and got by on that. My basketball smarts have improved in what to look for and learning how to get by defenders."
Although he took to the game early -- "I fell in love with it when I was five" -- an epiphany of sorts took place when Mahoney had the opportunity of a lifetime in the summer prior to entering eighth grade.
"Frank [aka Hell's Trainer] Matrisciano was working out Blake Griffin, Taylor Griffin, Daniel Orton, Jeremy Lin, Anthony Goods, Nikoloz Tskitishvili and Hilton Armstrong with Bob Hill, the former NBA coach, handling the basketball skills side. This was taking place at the Burlingame Sports Arena and I got to be there because my Dad had known Frank for a while. We would work out all day and into the night. It was a real humbling experience."
Also an early test on the difference between taking a liking to something and truly loving it.
As for basketball influences, Mahoney cited two.
"My Dad helped me work on my game and offered critiques about what to do better and Coach Rapp who is my basketball and my life role model. He's a great coach and an unbelievable person. We still talk in his office a lot and not just about basketball."
Rapp is just as impressed with his protege.
"Danny is a great kid, one of the best guards I've ever coached and he has the best offensive game of any guard I ever coached. He's an unbelievable perimeter shooter and attacks the basket with reckless abandon. He had a couple of monster games for us and stepped up in big moments."
At the next level, Mahoney will he playing the point and looking to major in political science or business. He's looking for "a coach who is personable and who I can relate to on and off the court. I want to play in an uptempo offense and would like to stay in California if possible."
That decision should be coming soon.