Matthew Marzano’s Journey to Leadership


Will DeAndre, Conner Lusk, and

It’s seven a.m. on a Tuesday morning. Just another day for the majority of kids at Palo Alto High School, but for Matthew Marzano this is a gameday. Although he is a second year varsity player, this is the first season that Marzano will see prominent minutes and hold a leadership position on the team, a result of last year’s large graduating class of nine seniors.

Like most students, Marzano heads out the door around eight, rushing to school before his first period starts. With that first bell ringing, the thought and nervousness of his first varsity game disappears and all of his attention shifts to school work. “Balancing time between school and basketball is difficult, but when I’m in class or on my court all my attention shifts to that activity.” Marzano said.

Powering through the school day, when Marzano hears the 3:35 bell ring he knows that there is only around three hours until his game starts. With that in mind, Marzano jets home for a quick snack and to try get some rest before his team’s season opener. Around an hour before tip off Marzano shows up to the gym to here the surprising news that the game had been delayed 30 minutes. Because the thought of this game had been the only thing he had been thinking about for the previous three hours, this short delay of watching the JV game for 30 minutes felt like an eternity for him. As the final buzzer went off for the JV game, Marzano was locked in.

The moment that he had been waiting for for 11 years. The chance to start for the high school team that he had watched growing up. Marzano heads to the locker room to lace up his shoes and to throw on his jersey, it’s nothing but butterflies now. After receiving his defensive assignment and the team’s keys to success, Marzano and his teammates take the court.

As he puts shots up in his pregame warmup, Marzano reminisces on last year watching from the bench while his team goes to the NorCal Division 1 Championship, realizing that the team dynamic this year will be completely different. The team will now consist of only five returning varsity players, none of which received significant minutes, and Marzano will be thrust into a role where he is expected to score and defend at a premier level.

In addition to this, for his first time in his Paly basketball career, Marzano will also be stepping into his first leadership position as a team captain. To Marzano this title means more than just taking up the reigns as the team’s shooter or scorer, it is about the responsibility and accountability that it comes with,

“Being a captain just means keeping your team in check during the game and in practice.”

As the year progresses, Marzano looks to help the team gain chemistry and get the ball rolling to what looks as if it could be a shot at the SCVAL championship.