Damien Sears’ Remarkable Journey to St John’s University


Former Haughton Buccaneer Damien Sears will be suiting up for the St. John’s Red Storm in the fall, but his journey to the Big Apple hasn’t been an easy one.

Jori Parys tells us the story of Sears’ journey.

Jori Parys said, “When you know where you’re going, sometimes you pay a visit to where you’ve been.”

Damien Sears said, “This is where it all started.”

Parys said, “Damien sears went from Haughton, to Jacksonville University in Florida.”

Sears said, “The program just wasn’t the right fit for me.”

Parys said, “After two seasons Damien was looking to transfer but during the transition, tore his acl playing a pick up game.” 
Sears said, “I think I cried maybe three times in my life and that was one of the times. My mom was in there and we shared tears together. It was tough it was very tough. I told all the schools that were actually recruited me. A lot of them backed out.”

Parys said, “After 7 and a half months of rehab. Damien eased his way back onto the court at Western Oklahoma State. A junior college, in Altus.”

Sears said, “Coach Ro he stuck with me and one game he came to me in the office and was just like hey, are you ready to go what can you do? From there it’s been bucket after bucket.” 

Parys said, “Naturally, people noticed.”

Sears said, “I ended up receiving ten plus offers from many division one institutes. I just got that one call from a New York number I mean an Arkansas number cause it was the head coach at Arkansas I was just like, who is this?”

Parys said, ” It was St Johns University. A historic program in the Big East. Now to be led by former Arkansas head coach Mike Anderson.”

Sears said, “I was like oh yeah that’s going to get me a step closer to my dream. Definitely where I need to be.”

Parys said, “Before starting a new journey in New York. Damiens putting in work where it all began. But just like his basketball career, life at home has not always been easy.”

Sears said, “We had gotten a phone call it was a Wednesday night I think my Mom came into the room crying I was like what’s wrong what’s wrong. She just said Uncle Greg had passed away. I can just remember that was the second time me crying in my life.”

Parys said, “Gregory Smallwood passed away suddenly of a heart attack in 2012.”

Sears said, “He showed me everything from fishing to hunting to anything you can name it was him.”

Drake Smith said, “We’re very family oriented so it hit everybody hard. Still to this day it’s still tough to this day.”

Parys said, “But damien has a special way of keeping him close on the court.”

Sears said, “I know that he’s with me so I make sure to give him a kiss before every game start.”

Parys said, “And Damien has been through a lot since his start at Haughton.”

Willie Simmons said, “It changed him because it gave him the mindset that hey these things happen to me, but it doesn’t determine me.”

Sears said, “We’re too close now to give up. We’ve been through the hardship and the mud and the dirt. I can’t wait to take my cowboys boots to New York.”

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