FREDERICK, Md. (WDVM) – Free throws. If you make ’em, you’re good; but if you miss ’em, you gotta run the length of the court. That was what Tuscarora Boy’s basketball Head Coach, Darryl Whiten, has followed for practice for years on end.
And through that he caught a glimpse into the character, in what would soon become a fond memory for the future.
“Kids are gonna go from the foul line, down and back. But Obe didn’t do that.” said Darryl Whiten, “He went to baseline. Leadership. He went to the baseline. Humbleness. And that shows a lot about him.”
Obadiah “Obe” Noel, would go on to become a crucial component for the Tuscarora Titans; averaging 22.4 points, 5.2 rebounds and 3.5 assists in his senior season. He set a single-game records for points (41) and 3-pointers made (eight) and hit 61 treys for that year.
Fast forward to his senior year at UMass Lowell, Obe outshined the competition, as he averaged a team-best 21.4 points, 4.8 rebounds and 3.3 assists per game. He had a pair of 30-point performances on his way to all-America East Conference first-team honors for the second time in his career.
In his last interview with WDVM, on the HOOPS in the DVM Podcast, Obe attributed many people to his success so far, giving praise to the people at Zone24, his Head Coach Darryl Whiten, and above all; his family.
“God, family, school, and basketball.” said Art Claybon, Co-Founder of Zone24. “He prioritized those things at a very young age, to kind of separate himself.”
With that list of priorities in mind; he’s approached the grueling NBA Pre-Draft process, alongside Art – intensifying his workouts to prepare him for the next level.
“Rest was a concern, right? It was literally, a week after his last playoff game, we went right into the pre-draft process.” said Art, “Cause we were in the gym, three hours a day, five days a week. So that’s 15 hours a week, where in the past, he and I were only able to work one hour a day, four days a week. So it’s been triple what he and I have done his whole career.”
Art would go on to explain how anyone who knew Obe, knows that his work ethic is the first thing you learn about him; just through observations. His agent, Mike Whitaker, confirmed that he has had 8 different workouts so far, a testament to the kind of talent he’s grown with rep, after rep.
“One of the most humbling things that I always say about Obe, one of many is that how he had taken Will Enten under his wings many years. And Will was a player that had passed away to cancer.” said Darryl Whiten, “But Obe was just one of those guys that when Will would come to the gym, or Obe would come back. He wanted to basically help him get shots up, ‘Can I get some shots up?’, ‘Can I workout with you?’, those types of things.”
Will’s name has been synonymous with the Tuscarora Titan program; and Obe’s kindness, and humility is a lesson he aims to share with future Titans, at any chance.
“He’s come back, and worked with some of the kids we have here, and also speaking with the kids.” said Darryl Whiten.
Not only is giving back to his community meaningful to Obadiah; but that meaning, and strength comes from his family, the family who has guided him through this difficult Pre-Draft process.
“I don’t think it was that much difficult for us, because of our faith.” said Lavern Noel, Obadiah’s mother. “We’re people of faith, and we live that way, and we know what God can do. So, for us it wasn’t that difficult, but for Obadiah to understand, and encourage him; that was important for us. We always knew, and believed he would be where he is at, because we saw it in him at an early age.”
And true to a mother’s unconditional love; regardless of the outcome on Draft night, pride for Obe, and what he has done is immense.
“I tell him, I tell my children, to always be thankful.” said Lavern, “We are always thankful, for what God has done, and what God is doing. I’m very very happy at this point. Just [as Lavern collects herself, brimming with pride], very happy.”