Today Magazine Winter 2020 - Page 14

FOR THE LOVE OF THE GAME By: Kirsten Swanson Playing basketball professionally was always Darnell “Speedy” Artis’ '16 ultimate goal. While his skills are what earned him a conference championship and a MVP award while playing for Gwynedd Mercy University’s men’s basketball team, it was his infectious love of the game and enthusiasm he showed on court that made him a fan favorite. Now, Darnell takes that same enthusiasm and MVP-caliber skills around the world as a Harlem Globetrotter, playing for thousands of fans in some of the country’s most historic venues. Darnell’s dream has come true. But his rise wasn’t a straight line. By his own account, he didn’t have the greatest high school career. Still, GMercyU’s Associate Head Coach Bernie Fitzgerald attended nearly every one of Darnell’s games his senior year at La Salle High School in Philadelphia, Pa. “I wasn’t getting recruited by anybody,” Darnell said. “Coach Bernie and Coach [John] Baron were the only two people who believed in me when I was 5’3 and 133 pounds.” 12 TODAY