The Drill: Quietly, Trojans' Pavelko pursues sports the way it's drawn up

Worthington High School senior Danny Pavelko is a coaches’ dream, and a favorite of fans who don’t go in for showmanship.

WORTHINGTON -- Worthington High School senior Danny Pavelko is a coaches’ dream, and a favorite of fans who don’t go in for showmanship.

For several years now, the Trojan basketball, football and baseball player has let his performances do the talking. You’ll never see D.P. draw attention to himself in ways that some might call unseemly. He’s basic, down-to-earth. You’d never describe him as flashy. He just goes about his business and what you see is what you get.

“He’s just a blue collar guy. He’s what we talk about every day in practice. Just goes out there every day and does the job,” said his basketball coach, Clint Meyer, recently. “You’d want to have 15 Danny Pavelkos on your team if you could.”

In a varsity basketball game last season, Pavelko hit a game-winning shot at the buzzer. He didn’t go all crazy about it. Last week, when he was asked about the shot, he responded in a typically low-key way.

“I was excited, but I wasn’t going to jump up and down. It was a nice thing to do, but I only scored four points that game, so I felt I could’ve scored a couple more,” he recalled.


For much of his varsity sports career, the un-flashy Pavelko seemed like he was built to be the quintessential role player. But by applying his nose to the grindstone, he has blossomed. As a running back/defensive back in football, you were always impressed to watch him closely. He ran fearlessly on offense, despite the fact that he didn’t always get the best blocking. He did everything well in baseball -- just not in a flashy way. He does the “little things” in basketball to allow his teammates to excel, and he has become a good shooter when he decides that he can’t pass up a shot. He has demonstrated that you don’t have to be tall, or supple, or outwardly athletic to be a star.

“Just try your best and have fun out there,” Pavelko says, adding, “I’m not flashy at all. I don’t like to do that stuff. It’s not me, let’s say.”

He grew up with three older brothers, and according to a smiling Danny, “they kind of pounded on me a little bit, so I kinda got tough. Kinda had to.”

He likes practice. Not everybody likes practice, but Danny Pavelko uses practice the way it is intended -- to get better. He works at it every day. And he listens to his coaches. “They know what they’re coaching about, so I just do what they tell me,” he explains.

This week’s Drill feature for The Globe, Worthington’s selfless star finally gets a little time in the limelight. He never asked for it, of course. That’s not Danny Pavelko’s style. But we thought it was high time to honor not only his accomplishments, but also his team-first attitude.

You can see the video online at . Here is a sampling of the interview:

QUESTION: So you don’t mind practicing, right?

ANSWER: “Practice -- you’re gonna be here. They make you show up, so you gotta practice. If you’re going to show up, you might as well try your hardest. You’re only going to get better if you try hard.”


QUESTION: Do you have a special sports memory, something that will always stay with you? Something that you’ll always remember?

ANSWER: “I think one of my main memories would be when we were in 6th- or 7th-grade for baseball, we got second at state. It was just a lot of fun, because we were there for four or five days playing baseball and we were in the championship game.”

(Another great memory was hitting his first home run in the fifth grade, inspiring his dad to take him to Dairy Queen)

QUESTION: Tell us something unusual about you that most people might not know.

ANSWER: “Something unusual about me is probably, I have seven siblings. I’m number seven of the eight. It goes Marie, Rachel, Steph, Aaron, Joe, Ethan, myself and Dominic. I don’t have any favorite siblings; well, I can’t say that, because they’ll probably be watching.”

022421 N DG Worthington Trojans Danny Pavelko S2.jpg
Worthington Trojans boys basketball player Danny Pavelko 02 24 21 (Tim Middagh/The Globe)

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