The Student News Site of St. Mark's School of Texas

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St. Mark's School of Texas
10600 Preston Road Dallas, TX 75230
The Student News Site of St. Mark's School of Texas

ReMarker

The Student News Site of St. Mark's School of Texas

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Taking a different shot

Junior Luke Laczkowski recalls his switch from tennis to basketball. Laczkowski shares his journey into stardom in both arenas and the difficult decision he had to make in choosing between the two.
PERFECT+FORM+Junior+Luke+Laczkowski+shoots+a+free+throw+versus+Dallas+Thunder.
Zachary Bashour
PERFECT FORM Junior Luke Laczkowski shoots a free throw versus Dallas Thunder.

Swish!

Luke Laczkowski for three!

Thwack!

Point for Laczkowski.

And one!

Laczkowski to the free throw line.

A perfect placement!

What a point by Laczkowski!

Three seconds left on the clock. Laczkowski shoots… just barely misses.

Match point. Laczkowski swings… just barely misses. 

Laczkowski’s teammates rally around him on the basketball court after this tough game. 

It hurts to see Laczkowski walking off the tennis court alone after this tough matchup. 

“It was just more lonely,” Laczkowski said. “I loved playing both basketball and tennis, but in tennis I wouldn’t have anyone by my side to calm me down.”

Laczkowski picked up tennis in the midst of a chaotic time. With COVID ending his seventh grade season on the basketball court, Laczkowski decided to go all in on the tennis court. 

“I received a 3-star ranking,” Laczkowski said. “I believe I got ranked top 30 in texas as well and was able to play in the hardcourt nationals, which is the biggest tournament for 16U players.”

To achieve this success, Laczkowski put in countless hours of work, and while it paid off on paper there was another component that wasn’t as rewarding. 

“Honestly, it was really mentally taxing,” Laczkowski said. “At 13, I was putting so much stress on myself every time I messed up.”

For Laczkowski, there seemed to be a familial component that was missing. Unbeknownst to him, he would find that family on the court he had left years ago. 

“I only decided to play basketball again to try and play with my brother,” Laczkowski said. “ I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do after that. I was pretty undecided throughout the whole season until the SPC tournament when we beat Houston Christian. There was a special environment for that game and I noticed how close we had all gotten. I hadn’t really built relationships like that in tennis.”

After the end of the season, Laczkowski was unsure of where to step next. He never would have guessed that the guidance he was looking for would come through an instagram direct message.

“It was a club team asking me to come try out,” Laczkowski said. “I ended up making the team and from there I saw my game continuing to improve. My goal in tennis was always to play in college, but I felt that at the rate I was improving at basketball, playing basketball in college could be an option as well.”

While Laczkowski was putting in hours of work to improve on the basketball court, part of his quick improvement came from skills he had already developed in the tennis world. 

“Tennis includes a lot of footwork,” Laczkowski said. “With me being pretty tall, my footwork was pretty bad. With tennis, I developed a foundation and it translated to basketball well. There was also a hand-eye coordination aspect. When I get a steal by poking the basketball out, it sort of reminds me of getting a volley in tennis. Tennis really helped with my instincts, and I sort of see the game differently because of my time playing tennis.”

Laczkowski wasn’t the only one aware of his significant improvement in such a short period of time. Others were taking notice of his potential to play at the next level as well. 

“I believe he has this joy when he plays the game,” head varsity basketball coach Greg Guiler said. “As a selling point for his recruitment process, I tell coaches that this guy has only been serious about basketball for two years. He is very early in his improvement curve. I think the sky’s the limit because he really has only just started dialing in.”

Laczkowski’s decision to switch from tennis to basketball was met with support from his family as well. Though Laczkowski had reached such high levels of success on the tennis court, basketball was still a large part of his household as both of his older brothers went on to play Division I Basketball.

“My brothers were happy when I made the switch,” Laczkowski said. “Whenever I played with them in the backyard, they would always say that if I focused on basketball I could be better than them. My parents were both very supportive as well. My mom was a bit disappointed because she loves tennis but I believe she enjoys seeing all three of her boys playing basketball now. I also think basketball is a bit less stressful for them because they have other parents they can cheer with.”

While Laczkowski loves the game of basketball, sometimes his old passion comes creeping back in and relights that lost flame. 

“I was hitting tennis balls with my friends the other day,” Laczkowski said. “It was the first time I had done it in months and at that moment I kind of missed the game. I put a lot of work into tennis and it was cool seeing I still have some of that skill to this day. However, I feel that by just focusing on basketball, rather than balancing both sports, it gives me more time to try and achieve my dreams.”

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About the Contributors
Lawrence Gardner, Sports Editor
Eric Yi, Head Writer
Zachary Bashour, Head Photographer