Danielle McCray: Disney Imagineer In Training
Danielle Mcray has high aspirations both on and off the court.

Dec. 13, 2013

When one first meets Ole Miss junior forward, Danielle McCray, you would probably classify her as quiet, possibly even shy.  She certainly won't win a contest for the loudest member of the Rebel basketball team, but she might have the most interesting career choice of anyone on the Ole Miss women's basketball team. McCray, an art major, has her sights on becoming a Disney Imagineer.

According to the Walt Disney website this is the description of an Imagineer:

"There's no such thing as "thinking too big" at Walt Disney Imagineering. This is where you can dream up your wildest ideas and join forces with world-class experts to make them a reality. Our ultimate goal is to leave our guests in awe, while inspiring the next generation of Imagineers to ask, "How can I do that some day?"

With more than 140 disciplines in the arts, sciences and technical fields, you'll have the opportunity to work with some of the most talented and diverse people in the entertainment industry on a wide variety of projects.

For those that still don't quite know what an Imagineer is, they are the folks behind all of the amusement park rides, animation, and special effects at Disneyland and Disneyworld. Essentially, McCray wants to be a part of the Disney team that leaves visitors to the Disney Parks and resorts amazed.

To be clear, becoming a Disney Imagineer is no easy feat, you have to be at the top of your game and even then it's a tough field to break into, but McCray has had her sights set on working for Disney for quite some time.

"I've always wanted to be an animator at Pixar," said McCray. "But since I started taking a sculpture class I really enjoyed it and thought my interests might change. I think it would be cool to see one of my designs become something in a theme park."

Being an art major and a student-athlete can be fairly time consuming. Art majors don't have assignments they have projects. Big projects that require lots of work and time outside of the classroom, time that McCray has learned to manage with her extremely busy basketball schedule.


 

 

"We don't get little assignments," said McCray. "We get big projects that typically take two-three weeks to complete and they are very time consuming. We're in class for two hours and 45 minutes and then outside of class our instructors want us to work six hours a week and that's just in order to just be average and get your work done. If you want an A, you've got to work more than that."

Now imagine all that with the addition of basketball practices, weights, games, road trips - that's McCray's life. Although it can be challenging at times, she's found a way to balance everything.

"I take it little by little," said McCray. "Whenever I have some free time or whenever I'm in the mood to draw, I do. One of my art teachers told me to always keep a pen and paper with you to draw.  So for me I often end up drawing buses, teammates and things in the locker room and gym!"

For as dedicated as McCray is to her future career as an Imagineer she's equally dedicated to her role as a member of the Ole Miss women's basketball team.

McCray is having somewhat of a breakout season during her junior campaign. After starting the first five games on the bench, McCray moved to the starting lineup for the Southeastern Louisiana game and hasn't looked back.

The Florida native is averaging 7.8 points per game and pulling down 5.4 rebounds per game. In the five games she's started, she's scored in double figures in four of them, including a career-high 17 points against Mississippi Valley State. McCray has been an important piece of the Ole Miss puzzle during the Rebels current six-game winning streak. In fact, Ole Miss is 5-0 with McCray in the starting lineup and just 2-4 when she comes off the bench.

While McCray's success on the hardwood might come as a surprise to some, it certainly isn't to her or her coaches and teammates.

McCray set some high expectations for herself at the start of the 2013-14 season.

"I want to get to that "third gear," said McCray. "Coach Matt always tells me I have a third gear inside of me and I want to get there. I'm really excited about getting there and seeing what type of player I can become. I want to be a great player and dominate this year and prove to everyone that I'm an undersized post, but I can still play with the 6-2 and 6-4 players out there."

Head coach Matt Insell is also pleased with the progression of McCray this season.

"She's getting better each and every game," said Insell. "I've pushed her very hard. She's someone I expect a lot out of with her rebounding and scoring. I'm very happy with her and she's going to continue to get better and better."

They say the biggest compliments come from your peers and McCray's teammates realize how important she is to the team's success.

"Danielle is very important for us to be successful," said fellow junior Tia Faleru. "She gives us everything she has on the court and we need her scoring and rebounding if we are to achieve the goals we set for our team. She's only going to get better and we know that we can count on her."

Senior point guard Valencia McFarland echo's Faleru's comments.

"Danielle is playing some of her best basketball," said McFarland. "She has stepped up and is really helping to lead us on the court. For our team to be successful this season, we need Danielle."

Whether it's preparing for a career as a Disney Imagineer or leading the Rebels on the basketball court, McCray is well on her way to finding her third gear.

    • Coaches Want Freeze Coaching Their Sons

      Friday, July 29, 2016 -

      Who would coaches want to coach their son if he was an elite prospect? ESPN's Chris Lowe polled the 23 head coaches in the Big 12 and SEC on that question, and Hugh Freeze was one of the top vote-getters. One of the... read more

    • Vaught Ranked No. 30 CFB Coach of All-Time

      Wednesday, July 27, 2016 - Football

      Sports on Earth - "No. 30 John Vaught: Ole Miss has never been crowned national champion by the AP poll, but in 1960 it shared titles honors with Minnesota, thanks to the FWAA vote, and the Rebels also claim... read more

    • Ole Miss to be Well-Represented in Rio

      Wednesday, July 20, 2016 - Track & Field

      Ole Miss track and field will be represented in a big way as the world's attention turns to Rio for the 2016 Summer Olympic Games. A school-record seven members of the Rebel family will compete at the Games while... read more

    • Vaught-Hemingway Named Most Amazing College Stadium in Mississippi

      Monday, July 18, 2016 - Football

      Sports Management Degree - Autumn-time Saturdays in Oxford, Mississippi, are devoted to Ole Miss and college football. The parties and tailgating start early, and by game time, hundreds of tents, grills, tailgates, and lawn chairs can be seen for... read more

    • Ole Miss at Media Days 2016

      Thursday, July 14, 2016 - Football

      Normal 0 false false false EN-US JA X-NONE /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:12.0pt; font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-font-family:Cambria; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;} When Hugh Freeze took the podium... read more

    • Raven Saunders the Talk of Track & Field World

      Friday, June 10, 2016 - Track & Field

      After Raven Saunders won her third NCAA shot put title and broke a 33-year-old collegiate record yesterday, she was due for some headlines in the track & field world. Her outgoing personality and flashy demeanor in front of the huge... read more

    • Oxford Regional - The Competition

      Friday, June 3, 2016 -

       By Tate Hawkins, Ole Miss Athletics Media Relations Student Assistant The 2016 season has been a big one for the Rebels. The 40-16 regular season record was the fourth 40-win regular season in program history. The Rebels went 18-12... read more

    • From the Tee Box at the 2016 SEC Championships

      Sunday, April 17, 2016 - Athletics

      Normal 0 false false false EN-US JA X-NONE /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:12.0pt; font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-font-family:Cambria; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;} As the Ole Miss women's golf... read more

    • From the Tee Box at the 2016 SEC Championships

      Saturday, April 16, 2016 - Athletics

      Normal 0 false false false EN-US JA X-NONE /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:12.0pt; font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-font-family:Cambria; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;} As the Ole Miss women's golf... read more

    • From the Tee Box at the 2016 SEC Championships

      Friday, April 15, 2016 - Athletics

      Normal 0 false false false EN-US JA X-NONE /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:12.0pt; font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-font-family:Cambria; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;} As the Ole Miss women's golf... read more

    • Ole Miss School Of Pharmacy Names Todd Sandroni Distinguished Alum

      Saturday, April 9, 2016 - Football

      By Steven Oubre, Ole Miss Athletics Media RelationsThis weekend, the School of Pharmacy at the University of Mississippi will name former Rebel football player Todd Sandroni their 2016 Distinguished Alumnus Award. From 1987-1990, Todd Sandroni stalked the football field... read more

    • The Journey to this Point...2016 Ole Miss Baseball

      Wednesday, March 23, 2016 - Baseball

      By Tate Hawkins, Ole Miss Athletics Media Relations In case you missed it, or you've been focused on the winter sports, Ole Miss Baseball is already five weeks into the 2016 season. After an 8-2 win over UT Martin on... read more

    • Break Out the Powder Blue

      Monday, February 29, 2016 - Baseball

      By Tate Hawkins, Student Assistant, Ole Miss Athletics Media RelationsYou've seen it all over athletics and campus. From jerseys, hats, helmets, and even to T-shirts that get tossed into the crowd. Fans have clung to this over the past... read more

    • Watch Six Rebels at NFL Combine on NFL Network

      Thursday, February 25, 2016 - Football

      Who doesn't enjoy seeing their favorite Rebels suit up on Sundays and represent Ole Miss in the National Football League?Well, there are about to be a few more NFL Rebels to watch on TV this fall.The Path to the Draft... read more

    • Welcome Back to Baseball

      Monday, February 22, 2016 - Baseball

      Normal 0 false false false EN-US X-NONE X-NONE /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:12.0pt; font-family:"Calibri","sans-serif"; mso-ascii-font-family:Calibri; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-font-family:Calibri; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;} By Tate Hawkins, Student Assistant, Ole... read more

OFFICIAL STORE

GET SOCIAL

Twitter

  • Loading Tweets...
    1 second ago

Instagram

Facebook