St. Peter's Jenkins on Road to Recovery; Dunne to Take 'Shots from the Heart' | Zagsblog
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Friday / October 7.
  • St. Peter’s Jenkins on Road to Recovery; Dunne to Take ‘Shots from the Heart’

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    St. Peter’s College senior guard Wesley Jenkins was playing in a pickup game Oct. 1 at the Jersey City school when he first felt discomfort in his right knee.

    “I was going up for a layup and came down wrong,” the 6-foot-2, 195-pound Jenkins said in a phone interview. “I  didn’t know it was messed up, so I kept playing.”

    Jenkins went to see the trainer the following day and that’s when he received some potentially devastating news from the team doctor, Dr. Tom Wickiewicz of the Hospital for Special Surgery: he had a partial tear of his anterior cruciate ligament (ACL).

    “The first thing that came in my mind was this is supposed to be our year to win and for me to be going down with an ACL injury complicates the whole season,” Jenkins said.

    The Peacocks were picked to finish third in the MAAC and Jenkins, a Newark native who starred at nearby Bloomfield Tech under Nick Mariniello, was chosen first-team All-MAAC.

    “I chilled with the team and didn’t want to sit in a room and think about it too long,” Jenkins said of the initial diagnosis.

    But the following week, Jenkins went for an MRI and his outlook changed.

    Jenkins was now told that it was possible he wouldn’t need surgery and that his knee might heal on its own.

    “I was real happy to hear that because now it gives me a chance to get back on the court and try to win a MAAC championship,” he said.

    St. Peter’s coach John Dunne was understandably relieved.

    “I think we have a chance to win a championship with him,” Dunne said. “Without him, I think we would have been similar to what we were last year. We would’ve been in every game, competed hard every game. We still could’ve pushed for a championship without him.

    “But with him I think obviously are chances are a lot better.”

    Dunne feels especially pleased for Jenkins because the young man could have left the program after his freshman season, when the Peacocks won just six games.

    “He could have easily transferred, bailed on the program,” Dunne said. “He didn’t, he stuck around and helped build the program along with us so to see him be able to finish it off is great.”

    Jenkins will accompany his teammates to the U.S. Virgin Islands Wednesday, but he won’t compete in the 2010 US Virgin Islands Paradise Jam. St. Peter’s opens against Old Dominion Friday, while Seton Hall meets Alabama.

    “It’s going to be hard for me to watch because being that I’m a big part of the team, it’s hard to sit down and watch the team play without me,” he said.

    Jenkins is targeting the start of the MAAC conference schedule in early December for his return to the court.

    In the meantime, he rehabs every day, trying to strengthen his knee.

    Mostly, though, he’s thankful that he’ll be able to return to the court for his senior season instead of sitting idly by and watching his team go forward without him.

    “Yes, because a lot of people that have ACL injuries really don’t come back,” he said. “I dodged a bullet this time.”

    DUNNE TO TAKE ‘SHOTS FROM THE HEART’

    Dunne is one of 64 Division I head coaches from across the nation to participate in the “Shots from the Heart” shootout sponsored by CollegeInsider.com and the American Heart Association.

    Dunne will compete Tuesday against Monmouth head coach Dave Calloway in the first round (Calloway must shoot by Nov. 21), with the coach who accumulates the most points in a free throw contest advancing to the next round. Also competing is Peacock assistant coach Bruce Hamburger who will take on Duquesne’s Grey Gray in first round action.

    Donations and sponsors are being accepted for Coach Dunne and can be made by emailing [email protected].

    Coaches will not have to actually compete against each other on the same court. Each coach will shoot 25 free throws at his convenience. A member of the athletic department will tally the results and the coach with the most makes would advance. To avoid ties, 1-20 shots made are worth one point, shots 21-24 are worth two points and shot 25 is worth three points.

    The event will also pay tribute to the late Skip Prosser who passed away on July 26, 2007 of a heart attack. Prosser spent 21 years as collegiate head coach at Loyola (MD), Xavier and Wake Forest. He made 18 postseason appearances and is the only coach in NCAA history to take three separate schools to the NCAA Tournament in his first year coaching the teams.

    In 2008 CollegeInsider.com created the Skip Prosser Man of the Year Award, which is given annually to the coach who not only achieves success on the basketball court but who also displays moral integrity off the court as well.

    (Photo courtesy St. Peter’s)

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    Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle. A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013. He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.