Slam Dunk Experience
April 30, 2014 - by Hannah Shaffer
Biochemistry major Jimmy Darnley ’14 walked onto the University of Mount Union’s campus shy and unsure of what his future would hold. Four years, a men’s basketball conference championship and countless B&B Mountie Burgers later, Darnley is now choosing between medical schools to attend while anticipating graduation in the spring.
Ohio State, Michigan and Cincinnati are currently in the race to win Darnley’s number one choice for medical school. Merging together his love of sports and passion for the medical field, Darnley’s ultimate career goal is to become an orthopedic surgeon responsible for treating college or pro-athletes.
With both the proximity of the University to his hometown of Canton, OH and the opportunity he was given to play college basketball, choosing to attend Mount Union was an easy decision for Darnley.
As forward on the men’s basketball team, he has participated in the sport for four years, playing significant minutes both his junior and senior years. One of Darnley’s highest honors is being selected to fill the role of team captain by his fellow teammates.
While he began playing for the joy of the sport, Darnley gained much more than anticipated along the way.
“Basketball has brought four years of memories and friendships that I would not have been lucky enough to have without playing,” Darnley said. “It has also taught me leadership, accountability, communication and pushing through adversity. My freshman year, we finished eighth in the conference. After four years of hard work, we saw the benefits of sticking through rough times.”
Darnley’s favorite basketball memory is winning the first regular season conference championship since 1997.
“Celebrating with my teammates in the locker room after our win against Marietta is a memory I will never forget,” Darnley said. “Four years of hard work was validated in that 40 minute game. Although we are not on national television or famous, it has been really cool to travel and play in some highly-competitive games.”
As if juggling both his studies and a sport while in college is not challenging enough, Darnley is also a member of Alpha Phi Omega fraternity, Student Athletic Advisory Committee member and Mount Union Preview guide.
“Sheetz coffee runs were vital, but over time I became better at the process,” Darnley said. “I learned how to complete assignments more efficiently and how to function on fewer hours of sleep. Sacrifices were obviously made, but I was definitely able to complete school work, play basketball and enjoy myself.”
Aside from basketball, one of Darnley’s favorite memories during his time at Mount Union is his experience as a Preview guide.
“It was awesome to help incoming students transition and feel more excited about the college experience while meeting new people,” Darnley said. “The staff included some of the coolest people around.”
As his senior year came to a close, Darnley spent the time finalizing his senior research project, preparing for a seminar presentation and enjoying what was left of his college career with friends he made at Mount Union.
While Darnley will certainly miss his favorite study spot in the Engineering and Business Building, as well as his go-to late night study snack on campus – buffalo chicken quesadillas – he will miss the family atmosphere at Mount Union most of all.
“Everybody is friends on campus, including the faculty. It’s extremely easy to develop a relationship with your professors,” Darnley said. “People truly care about you here and that is not the case at other schools.”