Just Do It: Horace Wormely

The Drew League’s “Just Do It” series will highlight how members of the extended Drew League family use the Drew as a platform for making their craziest dreams happen through the game of basketball and life. 

 

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The Drew League isn’t just a place where the best of the best come to compete. It’s also a place where players come to make their craziest basketball dreams come true.

While the above is true of any player who sets foot in the Drew, for some, it can seem like the goal of playing basketball professionally is the craziest dream already. That might be your first thought on seeing the pocket-sized point guard Horace Wormely take the floor at the Drew—at least, that is until you see him play.

At just 5’6, Wormely, at times can be overshadowed by the giants looming above him, but the fearless guard has never let that stop him. From end to end, he might be one of the fastest athletes ever to compete at the Drew, blazing his way to the rim so quickly; he often leaves larger players in the dust. It’s no wonder he’s earned the nickname “Gingerbread Man.” His success here has been instrumental in the continued pursuit of his basketball goals as one of the unlikeliest players ever to travel the globe to pursue a professional career in a game known for its verticality, and while he may play closer to the floor than most, his Drew League experience has kept him just as grounded.

“The Drew has offered me an opportunity to sharpen my sword on the court against some of the best basketball players in the world,” he says. “It has also given me [the] exposure I might otherwise not have gotten.”

Those opportunities have included roster spots on several international teams like Venezuelan LPB’s Gigantes, Columbia’s Americas League’s Paiotriotas de Boyaca, and most recently, the Saint John Riptide of Canada’s NBL. The globe-hopping Pasadena native was especially gracious in praising the latter, pointing out the increased presence of American players like himself and the improving talent of Canada’s homegrown product.

“Outside of the big American leagues, I don’t think you’re going to find as many Americans on the floor (or on a team) in international basketball as there are in the NBL,” he notes. “The Canadians are getting better and better every year. The league itself is growing every season—adding new teams, expanding its marketing, and owners are investing more resources. It’s a cool time to be a part of the NBL.”

Wormely credits the connections he’s made playing in the Drew League as a big part of the reason for his fortune in finding success abroad.

“My relationships with Ryan Hollins, Frank Robinson, Nick Sanderson, Keion Kindred, Roland Jones, Chaniel Smiley, Jian Allen and Alvin Stafford have either led directly to opportunities in my on-court basketball career or off-the-court exposure or business opportunities,” he says.

Wormley says the most important thing he’s gained from the Drew, aside from the opportunity to hone his skills, is the development of such relationships. He says this has always opened his eyes to ways in which he can give back to the basketball community that he’s proud to be a part of. He says he wants to help bring a more holistic perspective to the narrative of navigating the world of basketball.

“There are and will always be a lot more players in my position than there are million-dollar women and men,” he points out.

His method of shifting the paradigm and highlighting those working-class athletes who make their living traveling the world and representing the United States in various global leagues is to be “as transparent as possible in sharing my experiences (and the experiences of others), on and off the court—on every outlet and platform possible.”

There is perhaps no better place where he can communicate his experience and wisdom than the place he got his start. The Drew League is where the best players in the world all dream to compete. And thanks to players like the Gingerbread Man, it’s where they can also learn to dream bigger than they ever thought possible—and make those dreams come true.

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