Worcester to walk on at UMaine

11 years ago

     WASHBURN, Maine — Citing the goal of wanting to play at the Division I level since he was a kid, Mitchell Worcester has made the decision to attend the University of Maine at Orono this fall and join the Black Bears as a walk-on (non-scholarship) player.

The senior standout, who this past season eclipsed the Washburn District High School scoring record, became one of only a handful of Maine players to reach the 2,000-point mark and was a Maine Mr. Basketball finalist, made his decision over the weekend and went public Monday evening.
“This is something I’ve wanted to do for a long time,” said Worcester, “but I didn’t really have my mind set [on going to Maine] until the past couple years.
“[UMaine] Coach [Ted] Woodward has told me I could make the team. He made no guarantees about playing time and told me it’d be a challenge, but that if I was willing to put forth the effort, then I could play there.”
Worcester said he feels his shooting ability and knowledge of the game make him a D-I prospect, but he also knows he has work ahead of him.
“I’ve got to get bigger and more athletic,” he admits. “Ball handling and shooting off the dribble are other things I need to work on.”
A renowned “gym rat,” Worcester realizes that playing at the highest level of collegiate basketball takes a year-round commitment, but feels it is something he can handle.
“It fits my passion for the game,” he said.
He has already hired a personal trainer, Aaron Marston of Presque Isle, who in the past has worked with professional athletes such as Vince Wilfork  and Adam “Pac-Man” Jones of the National Football League.
“I’ll be spending a lot of time in the gym and changing my diet,” he said.
He is friends with Matt Rossignol, the girls’ basketball coach at Van Buren and the last player from Aroostook County to play for the Black Bear mens’ team, doing so from 1985-89.
“He has been encouraging, telling me I can make it happen if I want to,” Worcester said, noting Rossignol has offered to help train him this spring and summer.
“He knows what it’s like and knows what it takes — his support means a lot.”
Worcester readily admits another huge factor in the decision is the fact he will be rooming with Garet Beal, the Jonesport-Beals star who earned the title of Maine Mr. Basketball and will be attending UMaine on a full basketball scholarship.
“He’s a great friend and he says he’ll do everything  to help me out,” Worcester said.
Worcester said he had been recruited by Castleton State College in Vermont and several Maine schools such as Husson, UM-Farmington, University of New England, Maine Maritime Academy, Colby and UM-Presque Isle, but the dream of playing at UMaine trumped them all.
He said he is thankful for all the people who have helped get him to this point, including his family and friends, past and current Beaver teammates and his coach, Randy Norsworthy.
“I think I have the work ethic to give this a shot,” Worcester said. “I have always wanted to get in the gym as much as I can and be better than anyone I played against.
“I really want to try this and see what happens.”