At the age of 10, Deandro Worrell Jr. had fallen in love with the game of basketball after stumbling across a couple of Michael Jordan highlights.
“At first I didn’t like basketball because I would always lose to my dad when we played against each other,” said Worrell. “My dad showed no mercy when we played. He would be physical but it helped me become a better player at a young age.”
At 14 years old Worrell played in his first organized basketball league as he was a part of a city league in his hometown of El Paso, Texas. Although the team was not the best, the experience helped Worrell as he was matched up against older competition and got a better understanding of the game. At a young age, Worrell would analyze how NBA greats played like Jordan and would try to adapt the winning mentality Jordan had poised as Worrell felt it was necessary to have that mindset to be successful.
Worrell attended El Dorado high school where he was a key piece as his impressive size and skill-set was almost impossible for opposing teams to stop. It wasn’t until his senior year when Worrell realized he could play basketball for a living after many coaches said he looked like he could be in the NBA. Despite his impressive play throughout his high school career, Worrell was listed as an underdog because his school didn’t have a top tier basketball program and played against some kids that weren’t on his skill level.
“I’ve always been labeled as an underdog but I love it because I always rise to the occasion and get to prove people wrong.”
Worrell would go on to take his basketball talents to Cicero, Illinois where he would attend Morton College on an athletic scholarship. Worrell soon realized Morton wasn’t the place for him to be as he felt he simply didn’t fit in with the team and at one point he completely stopped playing basketball. After just one year Worrell decided to leave Morton and would end up playing basketball for the Pasadena City College Lancers.
“My old high school coach was coach (Idris) Lopez and coach (Keith) Hollimon who is the assistant coach for PCC were roommates in college so they worked together to get me to PCC.”
Worrell’s first year did not go as planned as he was getting little to no playing time on the court and felt he had no role on the team. Worrell never missed practice, was always working hard, and was always working to improve his game and felt his hard work was going unrecognized. His second year was a different story, as he was asked to step up and be a team leader on the court and received a bigger role as the teams starting forward. With the role of being a team leader, Worrell broke out of his shell and became a vocal leader during games and was inspired to be a player like Lebron James as he tried to get everyone involved during games. Worrell found fuel to become a better player and work hard as many people had a perception of him being a ‘rich kid’ that didn’t earn anything.
“I use that as fuel for me to work even harder because I get to show people I really do put in all the work necessary to be where I’m at.”
In Worrell’s final season at PCC, he averaged 8.2 points and a team-high 9.1 rebounds per game recording 8 double-doubles and was ranked 10th in the state and 2nd in the SCC in blocked shots with an average of 2 blocks per game. With the impressive play, Worrell earned himself an academic scholarship to McMurry University and will continue his basketball and academic career back in Texas. McMurry has always kept an eye on Worrell since his high school days as they have kept Worrell in contact with the team. Worrell had an incredible two years at PCC as a basketball player with the guidance from coach Keith and coach Jones to help get him where he is today.
Worrell now heads back home to Texas to finish off his collegiate career where he gets to have his family by his side. Excited to start the new chapter in his life Worrell is just ready to bring everything he has to McMurry.
“It’s kind of like a perfect story of a hometown kid going back home to finish where he first started. I had to come back. I have unfinished business to take care of in Texas.”
Worrell’s ultimate goal is to play in the NBA as he feels he still deserves a shot to play at the highest level. If not he would like to play overseas basketball preferably in China, but really doesn’t care where he ends up as long as he gets paid to play the game he loves.