Column: Trey Draper will be a Tiger 4 Life


Trey Draper is not one of those well-known players around campus. If you asked students at the University of Memphis about Trey Draper, they wouldn’t be able to tell you much about him. Draper is not just a basketball player for Memphis; he’s also a role model and mentor to others around the city. Trey has already accomplished a lot in his three seasons at Memphis and has one more to go.

Trey was one of the six Tigers to graduate in three years so now his focus is on playing one more year of basketball. This kid was not offered a scholarship. Instead, he was a walk-on at Memphis before his freshman year started. When he broke the news to his mother, Wanda, she didn’t believe him at first.

“Then, when I went to the first exhibition game — it was like after all these games we used to see — I just couldn’t believe that was my baby because I used to carry him to the games! she said. “It was like, ‘My baby is on the team!’ It was unbelievable.”

In three seasons at Memphis, Trey only scored five points in 21 regular season games. His stat sheet is not as remarkable as others, but he’s a Tiger and will be a Tiger for life.

Trey comes from a family that are Tiger fanatics. His father, Leonard Draper Jr. and grandfather, Leonard Draper Sr. are big fans of the basketball program. Trey’s grandfather grew up and became best friends with Larry Finch, one of many Tiger greats. As a kid, Trey’s parents would take him to see the Tigers in action, not thinking that one day their own son would be on the team. Trey is a great mentor to kids younger than him. He always go back to Mitchell High School and speak to students and the entire basketball team. The school’s principal, Kelvin Meeks, loves what he’s doing for the youth.

“He comes back and he does something that some of the other former players don’t: He actually comes and plays with the team in the summer time, talks to them about the ACT and actually does tutoring with them sometimes on the ACT,” said Meeks.

Trey sees it as a way of giving back to where his future all started. Once his career is over at Memphis, the city can stamp him as a Tiger great. His leadership and intelligence will carry him along way in life and hopefully others will follow in his foot steps.

Part of this information came from the Commercial Appeal.

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