Quaker Valley grad continues recovery in PBC Pro-Am League
TribLIVE Sports Videos
Ben Stevenson may not be the most well known player at the Pittsburgh Basketball Club's Summer Pro-Am League.
He may not be the biggest, strongest or fastest.
But what he may have is the most determination.
The Quaker Valley grad wrapped up his redshirt freshman season at Guilford College in North Carolina and is using the summer league playing against athletes from Pitt, Duquesne and Robert Morris to improve his game.
Stevenson is grateful to be taking part in the event after returning from a surgery that repaired a leg injury that plagued him most of his playing career.
“It feels great,” Stevenson said on returning to the court. “I got so bored during my recovery, playing video games and watching other people play basketball. It seemed like everyone wrote me off. The whole time I was thinking I can't wait to play again.”
Stevenson suffered from osteochondritis dissecans throughout his high school career. The condition was caused from four bones from his left femur breaking off, leaving Stevenson in constant discomfort.
In 10th grade, he had a surgery to relieve the pain as doctors drilled holes into his femur to combat the condition, but it did little to improve his pain.
“His work ethic is hard to match,” Quaker Valley boys basketball coach Mike Mastroianni said. “He had a terrific senior year for us, and he basically played on one knee. He never made an excuse. He has all the intangibles of a winner.”
But when he entered college, the pain started to become too much to bare. Stevenson and his mother flew to La Jolla, Calif. in October 2011 to speak with a specialist and he was put on a waiting list for the procedure. On Dec. 23 of that year, he had the surgery that merged part of an organ donor's femur with his own.
What followed was a long recovery phase that included two months without lifting anything. He was kept off the court for six months while he went through a grueling rehab.
“The rehab was so bad,” Stevenson said. “From Day 1 they had me moving my knee when my leg was still huge. I had to go through all kind of movements.
“I am actually still rehabbing.”
While there was a chance the surgery could have ended his playing career, the idea of not playing basketball again never crossed Stevenson's mind.
“I am never going to think I am not going to play again,” Stevenson said.
“They don't want to tell you that you might not be able to play again, but they will think it. If someone says you can't do something, you have to prove them wrong.”
When Stevenson was cleared to play, he set goals for what he wanted to accomplish during his redshirt freshman season. First and foremost was making the school's varsity team.
“At Guilford, there is a varsity and junior varsity team,” Stevenson said. “I told myself I didn't come to college to play junior varsity. In the first scrimmage of the year, I was the first guy off the bench, and I really surprised myself.”
That was a beginning of a season that saw Stevenson come off the bench to average 2.6 points and 1.4 rebounds in 21 games.
“He has made great strides coming back from a difficult injury,” Guilford coach Tom Palombo said. “He has the ability to excel at Guilford.”
Stevenson will use the rest of the Pro-Am schedule to continue to improve. The league runs Mondays and Wednesdays through July 24 at the Green Tree Sportsplex.
At the end of the summer, Stevenson hopes to be able to return to Guilford and compete for a starting spot.
“The goal of every player is to be in the starting lineup and be on a team that has five guys or 10 guys who play really well together,” Stevenson said. “My goals going into next year will be higher than this year. I really want to start and play more minutes. That is going to be the goals.”
Nathan Smith is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at email@example.com or via Twitter @NSmith_Trib.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- East Huntingdon man dies following police chase
- McKeesport OKs taking vacant homes via eminent domain
- Duquesne teachers, district reach tentative agreement
- C-SPAN bus brings lessons to McKeesport Area students
- Giants, Bumgarner shut out Pirates in wild-card game
- Rossi: Pirates can’t waste McCutchen’s prime
- Highmark to increase premiums, limit access to health care in new plans
- Harrison man to stand trial, accused of raping 15-year-old girl
- Steelers pressing to create opportunities to get to quarterback
- Woman dies in fall at McConnells Mill State Park
- Pirates’ Martin calls crowd chant ‘petty special’