For God and Basketball





Scotty “Pastor” Samarco plays during the Lake Michigan Admirals basketball team's season tipoff game against Kankakee on March 2. Samarco loves basketball and he loves preaching about God. He is studying for a divinity degree. See an interactive video by clicking on picture.


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Posted: Sunday, April 7, 2013 6:00 amUpdated: 7:22 am, Sun Apr 7, 2013.

Photos and text by JOE RONDONE • HP Staff0 comments

The final shots didn’t drop. The frenzied comeback had fallen short of victory. But this hadn’t seemed to dampen the spirits of the home crowd watching the Lake Michigan Admirals, who had just lost to the visiting Kankakee Soldiers. They were just happy to see the show. Winning the basketball game wasn’t the most important thing that day – a feeling the Admirals’ leading scorer, Scotty “Pastor” Samarco, is familiar with.

"I realized I wasn't practicing my spiritual exercises, I wasn't reading the Bible every day," Samarco said. "What I realized was if you put God first and practice your spiritual exercises, it's profitable for all things."

What started as a nickname on the court has blossomed into an full-fledged pursuit of the title. "Pastor" Samarco was the moniker given by Lake Michigan Admirals owner and public announcer, Chris Glisson. He had overheard Samarco talking to his teammates about his religion, seen his posts on Facebook and noticed he often seemed to be delivering a sermon in the locker room.

"He was always talking about God, always had his Bible open, always talking about devotion and sharing his with other players," Glisson said.

So every play on the court, every basket made, led to a loud "Pastor Samarco!" from the public announcement system. The name stuck.

Through working with an after-school program affiliated with the Admirals, Samarco was introduced to Brian Bennett, pastor at Overflow Church in Benton Harbor. During their first meeting, Bennett decided to offer Samarco an internship with the church. Samarco called it a divine moment.

"I sat down and told him my testament," Samarco said. "I felt God was calling me to ministry. It's bigger than basketball."

After finishing his internship, Samarco decided to enroll at Indiana Wesleyan to pursue his master's degree in divinity. He is currently serving as the young adult director at Overflow Church.

Although his playing days may be numbered, he certainly isn't finished with basketball.

"I've been praying about it and I thought this would be my last year, but if God says keep going I'm going to keep going," Samarco said. "I look at this as a great evangelism tool. To connect with people, to bring a positive vibe to their life, to build relationships. If God says to keep playing basketball until my legs give out, I'm going to keep doing it."

For now Samarco juggles both worlds, though he is able to find crossroads where basketball and religion intersect.

"Basketball allowed me to learn leadership," Samarco said. "Now that's transitioning into ministry leadership."

For a multimedia video about Scotty Samarco, click on video at left or visit
Scotty "The Pastor" Samarco
Unfortunately, the Herald Palladium doesn't cover the Admirals every week. If you would like to here more about what the Admirals do in the community, please email Jason Mitchell at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . We need as many emails requesting more coverage from our fans.
I want to thank Joe Rondone for this great coverage of Scotty Samarco. Please let him know how great this video was if you enjoyed what God is doing in his life. This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it