BY ASHLEY D. THOMAS
Mario Mack, a recent Bethune-Cookman University graduate, said he was surprised when he learned the Greater Daytona Beach area didn’t have a semi-professional basketball league.
Upon finding this out, the 24-year-old has joined with other sports enthusiasts to develop the Volusia County Basketball League.
“I have two passions in my life right now – basketball and entrepreneurship. Put the two together and you have the Volusia County Basketball League,” Mack explained.
Tryouts in March
The international business and marketing grad is no stranger to entrepreneurship as he recounts stories of selling frozen popsicles as a child and moving on to packaged products by the time he had graduated high school.
“My first couple of years at B-CU I ran a snack shop out of my dormitory and my competitor was the vending machines. I had to keep my prices competitive,” he shared.
The league Mack is proposing is slated to begin tryouts in early March with games to begin shortly thereafter in May.
The idea came to him while shooting hoops with friends at an area court. Mack began to wonder who had the best players in Volusia County when friends claimed that there were some pretty good players in DeLand. Mack countered, “OK, let’s prove it,” and thus began the first stages of design for his vision.
The cities in the league include Daytona Beach, Port Orange, Ormond Beach and New Smyrna Beach in one conference and Edgewater, Deltona, DeLand and DeBary/Orange City in another.
“There will be a regular season. There are four teams per conference, and the two conference champions will play each other for the best in Volusia title.”
In addition to moves on the court, the Chicago native says there is a philanthropic side to the league as well.
“We aren’t here just to entertain. There will be internship opportunities and other opportunities to give back to the community,” he stated.
No fee to play
Mack already has partnered with an area university on potential sponsorships and is pushing a partnership with the Volusia County School Board.
“There is no fee to play,” Mack noted, saying he is currently scouting game locations and has written proposal letters to potential sponsors. “We want people to come out to see the teams. We want an audience to come out and we will naturally pay them (the players) as it grows.
“Come out enjoy what we have to offer; there is a lot of talent in Volusia.”