Marra working hard to improve game

Rick Pitino called Mike Marra one of the best high school shooter he's ever seen. This weekend, the 6-foot-5 Louisville signee will try to prove his future coach right in the Kentucky Derby Festival Basketball Classic.

Mike Marra never met a jump shot he didn't like. And if you watch the Rhode Island shoot around in the gym for any length of time it quickly becomes apparent that his range is virtually unlimited. 25 feet? 30 feet? That's no problem for Marra.

"I've hit regular jump shots from maybe eight feet behind the (three-point) line," Marra said. "If you're feeling it, you're feeling it and you take any (shot)."

Marra had a solid senior season, leading Northfield Mount Hermon to an 18-10 record. In his final high school game against South Kent (CT), Marra scored 33 points, making seven three's.

"My senior year went fine," Marra said. "The team did well. It was tough being the star on the team because everybody in the league knows who the best player on the team was."

Mike Marra is working hard on his game
this spring.

Marra said he worked to improve two keys areas of his game during his final high school season.

"I improved a lot on my defense and ball-handling," Marra said. "I've been working on that ever since I committed. That's the first thing they told me to improve when I committed. If I wanted to be on the court I had to handle the ball better and need to get quicker on defense. So I've been working on that non-stop."

Marra used some props to improve his handle.

"I have these dribbling glasses that you can't look down when you're dribbling," said Marra. "Those help a lot. You do drills with those and then you do shooting."

To improve his lateral quickness on defense, Marra has been doing a lot of ply- metrics.

"Basically when you're playing you have to make sure you're not slapping," Marra said. "If you're just messing around with your friends when you're playing – if you're in a defensive stance you're going to get better. As long as you work hard every time you get on the court you're going to get better."

Now that his season is over, Marra is working in the weight-room to improve his strength and in the gym to hone his skills. He's also playing on the golf team this spring to fulfill his schools two-sport requirement.

"I spend about three hours in the basketball gym and an hour in the weight-room (each day)," Marra said. "I wake up 5:45 and get a lift in before class. Then every night we scrimmage for about two hours. And then after that I usually work on my ball-handling and shoot on the gun for another hour or so."

Marra said he starts classes at UofL in June. What is Pitino expecting from the sharp-shooting Marra next season?

"He definitely wants me to come in and score," Marra said. "That's why he wanted me – to come in and shoot threes. If I can hit shots that will open things up for Samardo (Samuels). I'm not going to redshirt."

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