Calm, collected Worley shooting way to Spartan stardom
ST. JOSEPH – If Tyler Johnson had his way, Tad Worley would catch passes from him on the football field like he is now on the basketball court.
"I think he could be a receiver," said Johnson, SJ-O's quarterback in the fall and forward in the winter. "He's an athlete, that's for sure. A lot of guys said he's got some pretty good hands."
Worley's been hearing the football talk for years. But the Spartans' leading scorer would rather focus his energy on producing on the hardwood at the school rich in football tradition.
You see, when SJ-O's basketball team is at full strength, its starting lineup features four starters – Zach Becker, Mike Bialeschki, Blaize Cumbow and Johnson – who also started for the Spartans' football team that went 11-1 this past season.
"They've been trying to get me to go out since like seventh grade," Worley said. "I've just never been interested. I have thought about it before. But they don't make too big a deal out of it."
And they shouldn't. As long as Worley continues to shoot the way he has this season, his teammates won't have any complaints. With point guard Cumbow missing the early part of the season while recovering from a broken ankle, opposing teams thought they could focus their defensive efforts on stopping Becker and Bialeschki in the post.
They quickly learned they better account for Worley or he'd make them pay.
"He definitely helped out a lot when Blaize was out as far as the perimeter game," SJ-O coach Brian Brooks said.
"When he's shooting the ball well, we're a tough team to guard and we're a much better team."
Cumbow is back running the point for the Spartans, but Worley isn't planning to change what he's been doing this season.
"I'm still going to take my open shots and look to score," Worley said. "The good thing is I don't have to try and push the issue because he opens some things up for us."
Now all that's left for Brooks to do is get the laidback senior to play with a little emotion.
"One way or the other, he doesn't show much emotion out there," Brooks said. "He's somewhat of a calming influence for us, but we have to push him to get more excitable at times and be more aggressive."
Said Worley: "That's just how I am. I've always been that way. I'm a family guy, just chill."