Josh Verlin (@jmverlin)
Jeremiah Worthem has played a large role in Math, Civics & Sciences’ rise to powerhouse status.
A 6-foot-6 power forward, Worthem was a big reason the Mighty Elephants won a state title in 2010-11, averaging 14.3 points per game, despite it being just their fifth year as a program. He’s helped the team to an 80-21 record (.792) over the last four years, including a 13-0 start this year that has MCS ranked among the top teams not just in the city but in the entire region.
Worthem added to that legacy on Tuesday in a 60-58 win over Communications Tech on Tuesday, when he became MCS’ all-time leading scorer. His 16 points pushed him three past 2009 graduate Zaahir Smith’smark of 1,166.
“I knew I was pretty close,” Worthem told CoBL by phone. “I didn’t pay attention to it during the game, I was just playing, but after the game coach (Dan Jackson) told me.
“It means a lot. I left my mark there, all my hard work paid off and I’m just happy.”
Jackson and Worthem spoke about the potential to eclipse Smith after the senior scored his 1000th career point, back on Dec. 12 in a win over World Communications Charter.
“I just let him know to pace himself,” Jackson said. “It’s not something that you have to be in a rush for, we have a long season and as long as you continue to do what you’ve been doing, you’ll be able to reach that high milestone.”
Some players would then get nervous, knowing they’re approaching such a meaningful milestone. But not the Robert Morris-bound Worthem.
“It didn’t affect the way he played, he wasn’t being selfish at all,” said Jackson, who’s been running the program all seven years its existed despite being just 26 years old. “He got most of his points in the flow of the game and it was just an exciting moment after the game to realize that he had achieved it.”
That could be because holding the school record for scoring still doesn’t rank among Worthem’s top two achievements in his high school career.
“Winning the state championship in 10th grade has to be number one among all my achievements. Then I would say getting my 1000th point,” Worthem said. “We have a lot of good players from Division I, Division II; a lot of good players at a good basketball program so it’s definitely a big milestone for me to pass.”
At his current scoring pace (16.8 ppg), Worthem is on track to finish his career with around 1,450 points, depending on how far his team advances in the city and state playoffs. MCS has made it to at least the quarterfinals in both tournaments every year of his career aside from a second-round exit in the state tournament his freshman year.
While Worthem’s record is likely to fall someday, Jackson believes there’s no better player to currently sit atop the record books.
“He’s been here since ninth grade, he’s developed here, he’s grown here, he’s matured here. He has became a leader on and off the floor and not only is he a basketball star but he’s one of our academic stars at the school,” he said.