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Lakes' Michal Tomasiewicz (12) takes a shot on basket over Mundelein's Dylan Delaquila (1) in Mundelein, Ill. on Tuesday, November 20, 2012. | Joel Lerner~Sun-Times Media
Mundelein senior boys basketball player Dylan Delaquila grew up on baseball.
But by the time he was set to enter high school, Delaquila had grown out of what was once his favorite sport.
“Baseball got too boring,” he said. “I didn’t want to have an at-bat and then wait nine batters to bat again. It was too slow-paced of a game for me.”
Basketball proved to be a better fit, particularly the frenetic, up-and-down-the-court style favored by the Mustangs (9-8). After earning increasing playing time as a reserve last season, the senior guard has become a staple in Mundelein’s starting lineup this time around.
Delaquila, 5-foot-10, is averaging in the neighborhood of eight points and four assists per game. He shoots a team-best 39 percent from beyond the arc.
“He’s kind of our do-everything guy,” senior forward Sean O’Brien said. “He knows his role and has become a key player for us.”
Mustangs coach Richard Knar said that Delaquila played well over the summer, and still is improving.
“He’s become a focal point of the team,” Knar said. “He’s probably our best off-the-ball defender. He anticipates well and gets his hands on a lot of balls.”
As a junior, Delaquila made the most of his extended playing time during Mundelein’s winter break trip to California. He backed that up with an 11-point performance against Libertyville in conference action, and from there became a regular off the bench.
“When Coach (Knar) gave me the chance, I knew I had to make the most of it,” Delaquila said. “I knocked down a couple of shots and played (good) defense.”
Delaquila spent much of the summer working on his ball handling skills, which helped him carve out a spot in the starting lineup.
“That’s the major difference in his (play),” Knar said.
A lot more was expected of Delaquila this season, and he has met the challenge.
“Last year, we would take whatever he would give us, but this year we need certain things out of him every game, and he’s accepted the responsibility,” Knar said. “He’s a mentally tough kid, and he’ll play through (adversity). He’s a consistent player, and you know what you’re going to get from him.”
Delaquila plays bigger than his height of 5-foot-10.
“He’s a good athlete,” Knar said. “He’s long and he’s a lot stronger than he looks.”
Delaquila’s leadership has helped the Mustangs as well.
“He’s not afraid to tell people what they are doing wrong,” O’Brien said. “He’s a lot more vocal, and people listen to him.”
Delaquila will play for Chicago’s Roosevelt University next season. The NAIA program was dormant for more than two decades before being resurrected prior to the 2009-10 campaign.
“I love the city scene,” Delaquila said. “I (liked) the coaches and players, and it seemed like an all-around great fit for me.”
Delaquila can’t believe how fast his senior season is flying by.
“High school basketball is over after this, and we want to make a statement with the way we play,” he said.