Baker's Donley plays in NCAA tournament

Published: Thursday, March 28, 2013 at 03:07 PM.

"When we started out 0-8, it was really hard for us. There were a lot of teams that would have given up hope and doubted themselves. But we really kept believing in ourselves the whole time, and it's crazy how God worked it out and how our hard work paid off in the end."

Despite having a 15-20 record, the Flames made the NCAA tournament by reeling off four straight wins in the Big South Conference tournament.

"Going into the season, I knew we had a lot of talent, and I knew we could win the Big South Conference and make it to the tournament," Donley said. "The biggest surprise, I guess, is the humility of the team. I knew we had a bunch of tough guys, but it was really nice to see how we kept our faith in each other and the program and we came to work every single day (when they were losing).

"Our coach said, 'Work as if it all depends on you and pray as if it all depends on God.' I think that's what we did.

It hasn't been easy going from being a player at Baker, a small rural school, to junior college and on to Division I Liberty, Donley said. In the process, he has learned there is no substitute for getting in the gym and working hard every day.

"It's been a heck of a transition, to be really honest," he said. "Going from Baker to junior college was a really big transition and going from junior college to Division I was another really big transition. It's been tough every day, but you have to do one thing at a time and get better every day.

"I've learned you can't take a day off because when you take a day off, somebody is going to be working to take your spot."

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