LAKE WORTH- Danielle McCray ('11) helped lead Trinity to the 2008 state championship and a state runner up finish in 2011. She went on to play at the University of Mississippi and now plays professionally in Germany. We caught up McCray and talked with her about her time at TCA, playing professional basketball, and her message for young women.
TCA: Trinity had a decent program in the mid 2000's, but definitely not a state championship level team. What happened to attract you Alicia (McCray), Jamierra (Faulkner), and others to Trinity?
DM: At the time our parents were just looking for a school to get us into and we ended up choosing TCA because it was a Christian school that we could both learn and grow in our faith at.
TCA: When did you know that the 2008 team was a special group? Does a game or moment stick out that made you think 'We might be able to win this whole thing'?
DM: I knew we were a really good team just based on how hard we worked. But we were also really young (Me and a few were in the 9th grade, Alicia in the 7th, Jamierra and others in the 10th grade and we had 1 senior) so I never thought “we could win the whole thing”, I just kept thinking to give my all every game no matter who we were up against and no matter how much bigger or older they were.
TCA: What did it take to become a state champion? Obviously, the team had talent, but every team that gets to the final four is talented. What set TCA apart in 2008?
DM: It took a lot of work to become a State Champion and I think that’s what also set TCA apart. We worked extremely hard in practice and in games but also on our own time when no one else was watching. We made sure to put in work so that we could get great results.
TCA: Describe that run through the state tournament. What do you remember most?
DM: I remember beating Lake Worth Christian the most to make it to the State Championship Final Four. From the State Championship tournament, I remember the championship game and us starting to pull away from Sarasota in the 4th quarter and finally the buzzer sounding and us winning.
TCA: You ended up playing division one basketball in the SEC, a dream for a lot of kids. What was the recruiting process like and what advice would you give Trinity students who want to play at the next level (in any sport)?
DM: To me, the recruitment process was a lot mostly because I was a very introverted kid and when you’re being recruited by schools, you have to talk on the phone or text with the coach or they would come up for a school visit and that was very nerve-wracking for me. But at the same time, it’s a nice feeling to know that universities want you to come to their school. And it’s definitely a blessing to get any kind of scholarship to attend college.
TCA: What would be your message specifically to the young female athletes at Trinity?
DM: My message to female TCA athletes is to not let anybody stop you from playing the sport you love. Work hard and chase your dreams whether that’s to play at the next level or just play in school.
TCA: Besides basketball, what are your fondest memories of Trinity? What lessons did you learn, and how did you grow as a person? Do any specific teachers stand out as influential for you?
DM: My fondest memories at TCA are hanging out with my friends and just laughing together. As a person, I grew a lot spiritually at TCA and I’m very thankful to the pastors and teachers who helped me build a spiritual foundation that has lasted me even into adulthood. Ms. Suarez was one of my favorite teachers and very influential in my life because she didn’t just teach me calculus (which was very hard), she also taught me to go after what I wanted no matter how high and to love myself as a black girl and to let that empower me.
TCA: What's it like playing and living overseas? How long do you want to play, and do you aspire to eventually play in the WNBA?
DM: It’s a lot of fun to play basketball and live overseas because I get to meet and befriend people from all over the world and experience new cultures. And it’s crazy how even with the language barriers and difference in location and cultures, were still all bonded by a sport called basketball. I hope to play basketball until my body says that I just can’t anymore or unless God changes the course of my life. I’m very grateful to God for letting me play this long and I pray He lets me play for many years to come. I do aspire to play in the WNBA one day. I work hard everyday and trust God’s process for me that I’ll get to play in the WNBA.
(Follow Danielle on instagram at @daniellexmccray.)