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Ex-Riverview star on path to recovery

| Monday, Oct. 29, 2012, 12:16 a.m.
Riverview's Corey Bickert prepares to score the first two points for East during the Cager Classic at Highlands High School on Saturday, March 24, 2012. Bickert was unable to play the rest of the game due to injury. Erica Hilliard | Valley News Dispatch

Corey Bickert is taking his own personal redshirt year.

The former Riverview basketball standout, who had his senior season cut short by a knee injury, is using his rehabilitation time to do more than just improve physically.

Now a freshman at Clarion, Bickert knows a return to the court still is a year or so away, but he is learning nuances of his injury through classes and is seeing the game differently thanks to a coaching position.

A college course has helped him chart his progress.

“I picked up a walking-for-fitness class,” said Bickert, who tore the ACL and MCL in his left knee halfway through last WPIAL season when he slipped while driving to the basket against Springdale. “I am using that to help me move my way toward sprinting again.”

Bickert last week ran a 6.7-second 50-yard dash on the school's track.

“I am getting there,” he said. “My teacher knows I blew my knee out, so I have been used in a few examples. I have a better understanding of what happened.”

Bickert, only the second male player in Riverview history to score more than 1,000 points, was averaging 24 points per game at the time of his injury.

Bickert spent the second half of last season on crutches but remained on the sidelines to help coach. Over the summer, he helped coach the Pittsburgh Pride AAU program, a gig that has helped to mold his basketball knowledge.

“You see so much more from a coaching perspective,” he said. “You can really analyze what the defense is doing.”

Always motivated, the 6-foot guard wants to show coaches who called him “a Division III player at best” that he can cut it at the Division II level.

“That only made me want to work harder,” Bickert said.

Bickert hasn't been promised a spot on the team next season, but he plans to earn one.

“I was cleared to run about two months ago,” Bickert said. “I have been talking with coaches and watching practices. I am not where I want to be. The doctor would probably clear me, but I know I am not in a position to make the team. To me, I am a part of the team but redshirting.”

Clarion opens the season Nov. 12 at home against Thiel. Bickert will be there, taking mental notes and envisioning himself on the Tippin Gym floor with the ball in his hands and the game on the line.

Bill Beckner Jr. is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-224-2696 or bbeckner@tribweb.com.

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