Prep Profile: St. Mark's

St. Mark's (Southborough, Mass.) may not boast the talent of the Winchendon's and Notre Dame Prep's, but Lions coach Dave Lubick has built something literally from scratch.

When Dave Lubick took over at St. Mark's School (Southborough, Mass.), the program hadn't won a game the previous season. Or the year before that. Or, for that matter, the year prior to that.

That's right. The team had been shut out of the win column in the three seasons leading up to Lubick's arrival.

However, Lubick turned things around in a hurry, winning the NEPSAC Class C title in just his third season – and taking a talented team to the semifinals last year before losing to eventual champion Holderness.

Lubick, who enters his eighth season at St. Mark's, will rely heavily on three players this season, including 6-7, 205-pound forward Michael Gately, who may be the most talented of the trio.

``I think we'll be better than we were last year," Gately said. "We really didn't lose anyone. We have five of our top six guys back."

Gately hails from nearby Sudbury, Mass., and comes off a sophomore campaign last season in which he averaged 11 points and 7 boards per game.

He's a face-up power forward who has gained 20 pounds since the summer and has already attracted some interest from the likes of Holy Cross, Rhode Island, Columbia, William & Mary and Brown. He'll need to get quicker for the next level.

``He's very sound fundamentally and is a smart player," Lubick said of Gately. "He makes great decisions and shoots it well for his size."

The senior leadership will come from New York native Paul Rowe, an athletic 6-3 ½., 175-pound shooting guard who has made his mark as one of the top defenders in the New England Prep School ranks – shutting down guys like Kendric Price, Maryland sophomore Mike Jones and Colorado freshman Richard Roby.

Rowe played for Leo Papile's BABC team this past summer, but didn't get as much time as he would have liked – and when he did play, he was forced to play out of position at the power forward spot.

Rowe, who has gotten looks from Dartmouth and Columbia and also D-3's such as Tufts and Trinity, finishes well around the basket, but will have to shown D-1 coaches that he can consistently knock down the perimeter jumper.

``When I first came here, I had bad form," said Rowe, who averaged 16.5 points per game as a junior. "But in the past two years, I've really, really improved my shooting a lot. I've still got a ways to go, though."

``He was the unanimous defensive player of the year," St. Mark's assistant Mike Meloski said. "He can shoot it, but he just doesn't do it much. Defense has been his thing – he's a tough, disciplined defender who gives kids problems."

Another player who should make a big impact for Lubick & Co. is 6-4 junior Brian Lytle, who hails from New Jersey and also plays with BABC – but missed the entire summer with a torn Achilles.

``He's an absolute terror around the basket," Lubick said of his undersized power forward. "He is a very good shooter from 18 feet and in and is extremely fundamentally-sound. He jumps well for a guy so powerful."

The key to the team may be athletic sophomore point guard Salah Abdo, who started last season after coming over from Chelsea High. Abdo is talented, but he'll need to make solid decisions and knock down the outside jumper to keep defenses honest.

``This team is the best we've had since I've been here," Lubick said. "They are more athletic and deeper than any team, including the one that won the championship. Defensively, this team is really good because we're so athletic."

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