Tip Line: 574-344-5557 | news57@abc57.com

Arike Ogunbowale’s high school basketball coach talks work ethic

MILWAUKEE, Wis.— As the athletes danced their way across the stage during the season premiere of Dancing with the Stars: Athlete Edition, all eyes across Michiana were on Arike Ogunbowale.

People who were also watching intently? Arike’s friends, family, and former teachers in Milwaukee.

ABC57 News headed up to Milwaukee to learn more about what makes Arike, Arike.

She’s definitely known for what she’s done on the hardwood during high school.

“Amazing. I think that’s the best way to describe her. Both on and off the court. What she was able to do on the court is special and I think the world has seen that now,” says Jeff Worzella.

Worzella was Arike’s basketball coach back in high school, at Divine Savior Holy Angels in Milwaukee.

As she takes a national stage, in the spotlight, Worzella says her old gym is where it all started.

“Seven [records]. She’ll probably be up here for ever,” says Worzella, pointing to the school records banner in the gym. “55 points is a state record. No one has ever done that before. I don’t think any guy has either.”

The gym of DSHA bears Arike’s name every few feet. Her face and name also line the always, now three years later.

“Seeing her name on the board I think gives girls here the dreams of trying to match what she’s done,” explains Worzella. “I think that’s part of being a role model, you want to live up to who they are. She’s definitely left her legacy here.”

That legacy is an understatement. Arike scored over 2,000 points in her high school career. Something that DSHA has never witnessed before.

While Arike’s high school athletic achievements are constantly remembered, so is her resounding ability to think of others and remain humble.

“I couldn’t believe how many people wanted her autograph after games. And every single game and for every single kid, she made that moment special,” recalls Worzella.

And he says, that’s just who she is and who he hopes the world will see.

“Seeing her able to be a great leader and a great teammate… I was always a fan of her before she got here,” says Worzella. “But seeing how she was off the court, just made me think she’s one of the greatest people I’ve ever met.”

Share this article: