Feb. 12, 2004
Glen Worley came into the Iowa basketball program with only one particular individual goal: to graduate.
This year, his last at the University of Iowa, he is set to do just that, receiving a degree in African-American studies in May.
“My own personal goal was to come out with a degree,” he said. “I told my mother that I was going to come out with a degree no matter what happened.”
But along the way, the Coralville, native has achieved what only 34 other members of the greater Hawkeye family have done. Worley is one of 35 Hawkeyes to have scored 1,000 points in their career. He reached that plateau in Iowa’s game against Big Ten leader Wisconsin on Feb. 12.
The accomplishment is made all the more spectacular considering the fact that Worley missed the first four games of the 2003-2004 season and didn’t regain his starting position in the lineup until Iowa played at ISU on Jan. 21. In fact, his 140 points this season puts him only sixth on the team.
Worley, a forward, was sidelined with a fractured left hand after a practice in between the Hawkeyes’ first two exhibition games in the middle of November.
“It didn’t seem that bad at first, and then we went to the doctor and found out it was a fracture,” Worley said. “Luckily, if you’re going to have a fracture your hand is one of the better things to fracture.”
Although Worley’s shot was severely limited during practices, he counts himself lucky that he could practice at all, as many injuries could be more debilitating. Nevertheless, it took him a while to get used to the cast on his hand.
“My timing was off with my teammates,” Worley said. “When I came back, we had a lot of games in a short period of time. It wasn’t like I had had a lot of practice time. You try to deal with working with the hand, but not having the use of your left hand kind of enables you to do a few things.”
The lack of practice time and the immobility of his hand also didn’t affect Worley’s shot. “My shot hasn’t changed,” he said. “But going into games, I knew I couldn’t do certain things, so I did little things to try to find myself shots.
“Basically, I’d try not to put the ball on the floor at any cost and try to work on my shot a lot more than I had been to be more consistent with it, so when I did get open I could have a shot.”
Through the first 19 games of the season, having played in 15 and started five, Worley has gone 39-of-86 from the field (45.3 percent), 33-of-40 at the line (82.5 percent, the third-best on the team), grabbed 56 boards and had nine steals and seven blocks, while averaging eight points per game.
And while Worley’s competitive streak certainly kept him practicing, he was also able to fend off the mental demons that can easily accompany injuries, especially in one’s senior season.
“You try to take it day by day and be as upbeat as possible,” Worley said. “There are other things. You have to understand it’s not the end of the world, much worst things can happen to you.”
“It’s about sacrifice of the next man and for the best of the team. It’s taking the extra pass, taking charges, trying to be a leader and keep everyone poised in hostile environments. I think we’ve done a good job of how well we’ve played in some of the hostile environments this year.”
Iowa senior Glen Worley
Worley’s absence to start the season enabled sophomore Greg Brunner to step up and have his career-best game at Louisville.
“It was friendly competition,” said Worley. “I always supported Greg. The one thing I told him before the Louisville game was that he had to be a threat. And he showed that. It seems like he’s getting back into it.
“On the sideline, I hoped to help everyone improve, not just him. I just watched certain things and tried to help them out as much as I could.”
Worley’s efforts highlight the unselfishness that he says is the team’s greatest strength.
“It’s about sacrifice of the next man and for the best of the team,” said Worley. “It’s taking the extra pass, taking charges, trying to be a leader and keep everyone poised in hostile environments. I think we’ve done a good job of how well we’ve played in some of the hostile environments this year.”