It was quite the basketball season for Darius Dangerfield, a junior point guard on the Lycoming College men’s basketball team.
Dangerfield, an alum of Harford Tech, where he scored a Harford County best 1,800 points over four seasons, helped the Warriors in a “worst to first” scenario over the Winter in Williamsport, Pennsylvania.
His play was recently rewarded and honored at Lycoming with a pair of awards. Dangerfield was named Lycoming’s Male Outstanding Athlete and he was also awarded the Sol “Woody” Wolf Award, which is given to an junior athlete that has shown the most improvement in their first three seasons at Lycoming College.
Dangerfield improved his scoring average nearly 200% from his freshman year as well as becoming a First Team All-MAC Commonwealth point guard on the conference’s championship team, joining Rich Henninger (1973, men’s basketball) in the exclusive club.
Dangerfield is just the second Warrior in school history to win the Most Outstanding Male Athlete Award and the Sol “Woody” Wolf Award in the same season.
“I guess for me to get the Sol Woody Award is real cool,” Dangerfield said. “My freshman year, I didn’t really play a lot.”
The award was a pleasant surprise for Dangerfield. “For me to go on and win this award with this coach is just awesome because the bond changed between us two,” Dangerfield explained. “We grew. I learned to understand him, he learned to understand me. He had the most faith in me in the world.”
That coach, Mike McGarvey, took over the Lycoming program in Dangerfield’s sophomore season. A season that was dismal according to Dangerfield. So dismal, he considered leaving the school due to issues with coach McCarvey and his own playing issues.
Fortunately, Dangerfield says he gave it more thought and after reconsidering and knowing there would be more talented players brought in, he talked to his coach about place on team and he came back.
Which led to the award winning junior season. Dangerfield started and played in all 29 games, averaging a team-high 32.4 minutes played per game.
He made 140-of-310 field goals (team leader), 51-of-133 three-pointers and 81-of-104 free throws for a team-best 412 points and a 14.2 points per game average.
His 38 steals and 137 assists were also team-highs. All of this and a strong effort on the Warriors playoff run, led to the Outstanding Athlete award.
“I didn’t come out of the game firing, but more the last four playoff games. So, from the first playoff game to the MAC Championship, I kind of went on a little four-game run, where I was averaging probably 20 points,” Dangerfield said.
“I knew when we got that opportunity, I didn’t want to miss the opportunity. Every time I stepped on the court, or every game, I just gave it all I had. I knew opportunities like this, don’t come like this all the time. I just made sure I wanted to be at my best.”
That best helped carry Lycoming to the MAC Commonwealth championship. It was Dangerfield who scored 22 points, including three clinching free throws that earned him. Most Valuable Player honors.
“I’ve worked for this all season long, I’ve been working for something like this since I was a young kid playing high school basketball,” Dangerfield of his season and the honors awarded him. “It’s cool, I’ve put in the work to here, so all these awards are doing for is me is just motivating me more.”
Coach McGarvey recognized Dangerfield’s efforts. “It started with his work ethic, he was in the gym a lot this year. You would see him in the morning, in the afternoon and on game days," Coach McGarvey said. "He was vocal in ways that he wasn’t his first couple seasons at Lycoming. That naturally happens when you become an upperclassman, but his confidence-level was so high because of the work he put in that he pulled others along with him.”
In this junior season, he was one of two upperclassmen on a team with 11 freshmen, as he helped turn the tide of the program under second-year head coach McGarvey. Dangerfield started the year by scoring at least 10 points in the first six games.
“There was no pressure the whole year, we just all went out and played. When the preseason ranking came out, we were ranked last. So, when we saw that, it kind of just gave us a little motivation,” Dangerfield said. “We felt we were better than a last place team and so, when that came out, we just took and ran with it and after every win, we would say that, ‘remember, they had us last.’ Just kept it with us all season.”
“Darius meant everything to our team this year,” McGarvey said. “His leadership on and off the court was instrumental in us having a chance to be a championship-level team. The impact he had on the court, as one of the best players on the team, but in the league and in the region, was really pivotal in us winning the championship.”
With the championship, Lycoming will be moving for the MAC Commonwealth Conference to the MAC Freedom Conference.
“We won the championship this year in Commonwealth, I plan to be able to win one in Freedom, for sure,” Dangerfield said. “Just want to continue to work hard and see what the next award brings. I got First Team All-Conference this year, hopefully I get First Team All-conference next year and hopefully I get player of the year, next year.”
Dangerfield is a communications major with a minor in entrepreneurship.