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Former Schenley star back on court

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By John Grupp
Tuesday, Feb. 14, 2012

Few can forget the gut-wrenching sight of D.J. Kennedy being helped off the floor with an injured right knee last March at Madison Square Garden.

The former Schenley star suffered a torn ACL late in the second half of a Big East quarterfinal loss to Syracuse and watched from the bench as his St. John's teammates returned to the NCAA Tournament after a nine-year absence.

Now, Kennedy is working to get back to the Garden.

The 6-foot-6, 212-pounder is the shooting guard for the Erie BayHawks (14-16), the NBA D-League affiliate of the New York Knicks. He is averaging 13.4 points and 7.1 rebounds in a team-high 24 starts.

Kennedy underwent surgery in April. After rehabbing the knee, he earned a free-agent invite with Erie and starting seeing action in early December.

"I've still got a little more to go," he said. "(The rehab) was tough, and I definitely feel like there's still room for improvement. But I feel great, and it's not giving me any problems."

Kennedy had his streak of 16 consecutive games with double figures in points snapped in a 128-118 loss to the Dakota Wizards on Sunday, but the former 1,500-point scorer at St. John's is keeping his pro dreams alive.

"It's a testament to his hard work," BayHawks coach Jay Larranaga told the Erie Times-News. "To come off an ACL surgery less than a year ago and to be playing at the level that he's playing at right now is very, very impressive."

One of the highlights of Kennedy's first pro season was playing with Jeremy Lin when the current NBA sensation from Harvard made a one-game appearance with the BayHawks last month.

While Lin had a 28-point triple-double, Kennedy chipped in 16 points, five assists and four rebounds in a 122-113 victory over the Maine Red Claws.

"He's a great player," Kennedy said of Lin. "I wish I could have played more with him."

Kennedy said Lin's success gives him added motivation.

"That's the reason I came here, because it's so close to the NBA," he said. "It's a great opportunity for me. I'm looking forward to the future, and I'm going to keep working on my game and show teams I can play at that level."

Kennedy's next game is Thursday at Fort Wayne, where he may be match up with former Pitt star Gilbert Brown in a Big East reunion.

Today's women's game

19-Louisville at Pitt

7 p.m., Petersen Events Center

Comcast Channel 188 or 210/WJAS-AM (1320)

Records: Louisville 18-7, 7-5 Big East; Pitt 8-16, 0-11

Series: Louisville leads, 6-2

Of note: Pitt's 10-game losing streak is the longest since the Panthers dropped 12 in a row in 2003-04 in coach Agnus Berenato's first year.

Players to watch

Louisville: Shoni Schimmel, So., G -- Second in 3-pointers (2.6 per game) and fifth in assists (4.5 per game) in the Big East.

Pitt: Abby Dowd, So., G -- Committed only four turnovers in the past seven games, spanning 219 minutes.



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