Newly hired Boy's Basketball coach at Warren De La Salle sits down with Mitten Recruit and talks about his new basketball journey.
Coach Djokaj, thanks for taking the time to speak with us. What's your coaching background?
My passion for coaching began as a player at North Farmington high school playing for Coach Tom Negoshian and Coach Pete Mantyla. They laid the foundation of how important culture and toughness are to be successful, while also being positive mentors and father figures for all their players, past and present. In college (CMU), I was fortunate enough to be a part of the men’s basketball program as the video coordinator, while earning a degree in Athletic Administration with a minor in Business and Coaching. From there, I became a high school journey man, grinding at every level until Livonia Franklin gave me an opportunity to head my own program. I was fortunate to have great staffs, players and support at Walled Lake Northern and with REACH Legends as well. Those experiences prepared me for the opportunity to coach at De La Salle Collegiate High School.
What so appealing to you about taking the Warren De La Salle job?
De La Salle provides all the great challenges that coaches seek, while also providing a great opportunity to incorporate my faith to positively impact young men both on and off the court. It has a great athletic tradition and competes in the best league in state.
Tell is one thing that you learned about DLS since taking the job...
In my short time at DLS, I’ve learned that the entire school community and alumni base has a deep rooted passion and spirit for the school. The brotherhood it provides for everyone involved is second to none. It’s a powerful thing and I’m blessed to be a part of it.
Who are your top returning players?
Our program has a good mix of young talent and returning players. Senior Linden Holder is one the hardest working and best PGs in the state. Sophomore Triston Nichols is a versatile mismatch that can play inside and out. Junior Caleb Reese is a defensive minded player that also has a great feel for the game. 6’8” Sophomore Mike Sulaka received a D2 GLIAC offer and is joined by a few other very talented 2023s.
Have you started conditioning with the team yet?
We have spent a lot of time in the gym working on breakdowns and implementing our system through 4 man workouts daily. We begin our “Brotherhood Building” conditioning program before official practice begins in November.
How does your team stack up against the other teams in the Catholic league?
At this point, we are at a phase where the only thing we are focusing on is our team, our program and our culture. If we do the things necessary to be the best version of DLS we’ll give ourselves an opportunity to compete against anyone in any league.
Lastly, what do you want people to know about you and Warren De La Salle Basketball?
We will always pride ourselves on hard work and putting in the time to get better as a program. Our culture is defined as “I am who we are” and we want to have the best chemistry in the state. Talent and unselfishness is a dangerous combination and I think we have a lot of that in our program.