ALBANY — An injured knee is expected keep redshirt sophomore Jeremiah Starks from ever playing for the University at Albany men’s basketball program.
“When I got the news, I was heartbroken,” Starks said at Tuesday’s media day event for both the school’s basketball programs.
Starks is doing better since being told this summer that his latest injury to his left knee is considered a career-ending one. A Georgia native who played last season at Cowley County Community College in Kansas, Starks will remain with the UAlbany program in a non-playing capacity.
“Unfortunately, he tore up his knee pretty good and it’s a career-ending situation. It’s the second time it’s happened to his knee in three years,” UAlbany head coach Will Brown said. “He’s going to stay here and be a part of our program, but not play.”
Starks partially tore his left ACL and fully tore the knee’s meniscus two years ago. The 6-foot-2 guard then played a full season, but started to experience pain during UAlbany’s summer workouts.
“After two weeks, it started to feel weird,” Starks said. “So I don’t know exactly when it happened again.”
This time, Starks again had multiple tears in his knee. His meniscus has been fixed, but he is still waiting to undergo a procedure to fix his ACL.
Starks, of course, would like to attempt to rehabilitate his knee and make a return to playing. The injury, though, was severe enough that UAlbany was granted a waiver so Starks could keep his scholarship while the program was allowed to use an extra scholarship for another player; that athlete is 6-foot-7 freshman Nikola Jerotic.
Even before official practice starts, UAlbany has already dealt with a number of injuries. Besides Starks’ situation, sophomore Philip Flory has dealt with a foot issue and freshman Antonio Rizzuto had knee surgery to repair an injured meniscus. Flory could be ready for the start of official practice, while Rizzuto is expected to be out until mid-October.
Starks, though, won’t suit up for the Great Danes after joining the program this summer. He credited his new teammates and coaches for helping him deal with the disappointment.
“I’m still going through it,” Starks said, “but they’re helping me get through it.”