BETHANY, W.Va. (WTRF) – Oftentimes, when you go to a sporting event you don’t see past the player’s physical ability. Many college athletes struggle day in and day out to maintain grades and get enough sleep, all while keeping up with their family and social life. Sometimes, the stress can be too much to handle. I spoke with one college hoops player who tells me a life back home weighed heavy on his shoulders during their one and eleven start to the season.
The Bethany Bison Men’s basketball team has struggled to kick off their season. These men needed something to fuel their fire. That’s where Sophomore point guard Derek White Jr., better known as “DJ,” came in. He is one of The Herd’s most talented athletes, leading the PAC in assists, but also leading the team in something they need most—heart.
He has some character and he is a character at times. He jokes a lot, but when it comes down to it at game time, the lights come on and he flips the switch. I did notice a little bit that he was a little down at times, down a little too easily. So, I tried talking to him a little bit and find out what was going on.NICK HAGER – HEAD BASKETBALL COACH, BETHANY COLLEGE
What he found out is arguably one of the worst things you can hear come from a loved one…
She gave us a call. She Facetimed my sister and was like “I have something to tell you guys.” She told us she has Breast Cancer, and I walked away because I don’t like expressing feeling and stuff like that.DEREK WHITE “DJ” – POINT GUARD, BETHANY COLLEGE
Although home life weighed heavy on DJ, he refused to give up on his team. So, he went into the next game with a unique mentality, that soon rubbed off on his teammates.
If she’s able to fight with that kind of condition, then we should be able to fight with no condition. We can just go out there and work and give it our all.DEREK WHITE “DJ” – POINT GUARD, BETHANY COLLEGE
DJ’s future is bright, and his work ethic is unmatched, but his mom is his best friend. That’s why he describes the news he received the day after Thanksgiving, or Black Friday, “ten times better than a PAC title.”
I was home for Thanksgiving break, and I was just worried about that day. When she rang the bell, it was a lot of stress off of me and I was ready to move on with my life because she beat that. I’m ready now.DEREK WHITE “DJ” – POINT GUARD, BETHANY COLLEGE
His mom is officially cancer-free, something he describes as the weight lifted off his shoulders. Although it’s recent, head coach Nick Hager says he’s already witnessed a more inspired team.
The best basketball is ahead of us. We’re just going to keep working every day, keep being there for each other, and keep fighting.NICK HAGER – HEAD BASKETBALL COACH, BETHANY COLLEGE
DJ hopes his mother inspires him every day to work harder and will soon be attending his games again. The team is headed into their second game back from the holiday season tonight, facing the reigning conference champs, Chatham.
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