SALADO — Brandon Womac had already signed up for classes at Texas Tech.
His parents had already paid a $250 deposit for his dorm room on the Lubbock campus. But, after getting a taste of being a “normal” college student in a pick-up game of basketball during his freshman orientation visit in mid-June, the former Salado wing came to a realization — he wasn’t done playing competitively.
“That kind of put things into (perspective) for me, it just didn’t feel right for me,” the 6-foot-2 Womac said of giving up the game after high school. “I don’t think (playing intramurals) is for me, I need more competition.”
After returning home June 18, Womac broke the news to his mother: “Momma, I wanna play.”
“I thought about it and the only thing that felt right was basketball,” Womac said. “I mean, that’s one thing I couldn’t go wrong with — I couldn’t make a bad decision with basketball.”
Last week Womac made that wish a reality when he signed an academic-based financial aid package to play basketball at the University of Texas at Tyler, a Division III program in the same conference as Mary Hardin-Baylor.
“I want to say I tried it — I played college basketball — I gave it a shot. I don’t know, there’s just something about it, I don’t want to give it up yet,” Womac said.
Despite the lateness of his decision, Womac found a home at UT-Tyler, which hadn’t filled out its roster yet having recently gone through a coaching change when Jamon Copeland was hired in late May to replace departed coach Kenny Bizot.
“It was really just kind of a miracle I guess,” Womac said. “Everything just kind of fell into place. It was meant to be I guess.”
Womac, a hard-nosed, fearless guard, helped spark Salado (28-9) on its longest postseason run since 2005, reaching the Region III-2A semifinal before succumbing to No. 2 White Oak 63-44 at Stephen F. Austin’s William R. Johnson Coliseum on March 1.
For his efforts this past season, Womac was named District 22-2A co-offensive player of the year after averaging 15 points, 6.1 rebounds and racking up 3.2 steals per game. He was also a Daily Herald All-Area first-team selection and TABC all-region member, while also helping the Salado boys golf team finish third at the 2A state golf tournament despite not having played golf before this past season.
Despite his success at 2A, Womac knows the jump to Division III will require a complete rededication to the sport on his part, something he’s eager to embrace.
“I know I can (compete) there, I just have to put in a lot of hours into work and training, a lot more work in the weight room and cardio-wise,” he said.
Once his mind was made up, Womac went to work creating his own highlight reel and sending it off to a small selection of colleges, including one to new Texas Tech head coach Tubby Smith. Smith was the first coach to respond, but Tech’s scholarship allotment was already full, and instead offered Womac a walk-on opportunity.
But he wanted more than a chance to play, he wanted a spot.
At UT-Tyler, Womac now has that spot.
“Later in life, I don’t want to regret (not playing), that’s what I keep telling myself,” he said.