Derrick Worrels, Head Coach
Coach Derrick Worrels, returns for his 15th year as the Head Men’s Basketball Coach at Hillsborough Community College.
Coach Worrels had his first start as Head Coach serving as the Women’s Basketball Coach for two years before coming over to the men side in 2000.
Coach Worrels also competed for the HCC Hawks as a player posting a record that still stands of 24 consecutive victories in his sophomore season.
Coach Worrels played for legendary Coach, mentor and Hall of Famer Coach Joe Patton.
Coach Worrels has led the Hawks to numerous State Tournament appearances, conference tournament and conference championships.
In 2010 Coach Worrels decided to go the NCAA Division I route and went on to Canisius College and worked for one of the best coaches and people in the business Tom Parrotta. At Canisius College Coach Worrels witnessed an incredible feat by the Men’s basketball team. Five Senior’s graduated with not only their Bachelor’s Degree, but also their Masters Degree most in 4 years.
Coach Worrels was fortunate to return to Hillsborough Community College after a brief stint with Canisius.
As a Coach one of the biggest accomplishments that stands on-going is the 90 percent graduation rate the men’s basketball team has, as well as the number of players that have transitioned from HCC to 4 year institutions. Many players now enjoy professional careers through basketball, law, and the medical fields etc. Thus proving the value Hillsborough Community College and the vehicle (basketball) by which you achieve those great careers.
After leaving HCC Coach Worrels then went on to play and Graduate from the University of North Carolina at Asheville in Business. Coach Worrels also has his Master Degree in Psychology from National Louis University.
Jay Higgins, Associate Head Coach
Coach Jay Higgins is returning for his 3rd year as the Assistant Men’s Basketball Coach for Hillsborough Community College (HCC). HCC is the first institution to give Coach Higgins an opportunity to coach basketball since he graduated from Eastern Michigan in 2011.
Coach Higgins began his collegiate career at HCC, where he started and played shooting guard for the Hawks from 2007-2009. He had the privilege of playing for now Head Coach at HCC, Derrick Worrels. During his playing time at HCC, he was able to graduate with his Associate’s Degree as well as secure a scholarship to continue playing basketball at Eastern Michigan University. Due to his efforts on the court and in the classroom, he was named an Academic All-American his sophomore season.
At Eastern Michigan University, Coach Higgins once again was able to start at shooting guard for his two years there from 2009-2011. During his senior season, he was named one of the Team Captains and ultimately graduated with Honor’s with a 3.66 GPA. Since receiving his Bachelor’s in Psychology, he has worked as an Academic Advisor at HCC for over 3 and a half years.
Jesus Verdejo, Assistant CoachBorn in Rio Piedras, Puerto Rico.
High School 2001-2004 Lettered 3 years Miami Christian High School/ Winchendon
Prep. Averaged 23.2 points, 4.2 assists and 5.3 rebs in prep. As a senioraveraged 27.0 points, 5.7 assists, 6.2 rebs. As a junior averaged 22.9 points,4.8 assists, 5.5 rebs. All State and All County 1st team honors, team MVP, runner up for Mr. Florida.All time leader scorer in high school and led the team to be ranked 2nd in the nation as a senior.Ranked 23rd player in the nation in Prep School. Won Prep School Title and State Champs as a junior in high school. Member of the 16 and under and 21 and under Puerto Rico National Team/Captain.Won 3 gold medals, 1 silver medal, 2 MVP's, finished 5th and 6th in world cup for 18 and under and 21 and under.
College 2005-2009 Began college career at University of Arizona then transferred to
University of South Florida. Member of the Pac 10 Conference Champion Team and runner up of the Pac 10 Conference Tournament. Scored one of the most points in the Arizona Pro AM League with 50 points.Reached the Elite Eight in NCAA Tournament. Finished 33rd in USF All Time Scoring List. Finished 10th in 3 points made in USF All Time History. Bill Jones Scholarship Award recipient, Academic Achievement Award recipient, Student Athlete of the Year recipient. All Tournament Team in the San Juan Puerto Rico shootout. Finished college career averaging 13.3 points, 4.2 rebs, 3.1 assists. Graduated with a Bachelors Degree in Communication and a Minor Degree in Criminology.
Pro Basketball Career -2009-2015 Super Liga 25 Ganaderos de Hatillo, Puerto Rico, Captain, Final 4 team, average 28.5 points and holds single game record for most points with 46. Piratas de Quebradillas member of the Final 4 team in PR. Gallitos de Isabela, PR, Captain, runner up for Most Improved player. Member of the Puerto Rico National Team. Abejas de Guanajuato, Mexico, Captain, reached the playoffs for the first time in franchise history. Finished in the top ten in scoring in the league. Member of the Brujos de Guayama, PR playoff team. Indios de San Francisco de Macori, Dominican Republic playoff team member. Capitanes de Arecibo, PR, member of the final 4 team of the Liga Las Americas. Atleticos de San German, PR, team member.
Coaching Experience- Lead Counselor for The Miami Tropics Basketball Camp (2013).Lead Counselor for Jonathan Rodriguez Basketball Camp (2013).Assistant Coach/ Lead Counselor and Head Skills Trainer for Coach Mario Lovett Sr, Legacy Athletics AAU Program (2013- present).First year working for the Hillsborough Community College Men’s Basketball Team as assistant coach.
Jay Jay Mastrovito, Assistant Coach
Coach Jay Jay Mastrovito returns to the Hawks as an assistant coach in 2015. He was the team manager in 1999-2000. While assisting Coach Worrels, they lead the Hawks back the State Playoffs after a four year absence.
After the season, Mastrovito joined the Florida Air National Guard stationed at MacDill Air Force Base, Florida. Mastrovito was activated due to the events on September 11, 2001. Mastrovito separated from the United States Air Force in 2003 to pursue his education from the University of South Florida graduating with a Bachelor of the Arts degree in Management Information Systems in 2005. Mastrovito rejoined the 290th Florida Air National Guard in February of 2009 to continue serving our nation’s call by deploying to countries all around the world.
In 2013 Mastrovito joined the coaching staff at Ferrell Middle School leading the Tigers to place second in the conference. Finally, Mastrovito volunteered as an Assistant Coach to the Tampa Bay Thunder, an Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) organization, in 2015.
Currently, Mastrovito resides in Tampa, Florida with his two daughters Laney and Holly.