Andrew’s Road to Recovery
After playing in 15 games during the 2013-14 season, Santa Clara senior forward Andrew Papenfus worked hard all offseason in hopes of getting an opportunity to help Kerry Keating’s Broncos in 2014-15. But after suffering a seizure while working a youth basketball camp in June, it was discovered that Papenfus had a non-cancerous brain tumor that needed to be removed.
In a story written by Steve Kroner of the San Francisco Chronicle Christmas Day, Papenfus stated that at first he wanted to hold off on undergoing the procedure until after the season ended. He would ultimately change his mind, undergoing surgery October 6 with the procedure being a successful one.
From that point forward the goal was simply to get back to full strength. And if that meant a return to basketball, even better.
Andrew seems at peace whether he returns to the court or not.
“If I can’t play, I’m not going to be removed from the game,” he said. “I’m still going to be there for my teammates, coaching them on the sidelines. Being what I can be in the capacity I can be. It’s more about the team than myself. …
“If I am able to play, dreams do come true. Through hard work, dedication and never giving up, you can make a lot of things happen that people think there’s no shot (of happening). I’ll never give up.
“I’ll keep striving to play. I do believe I’m going to play.”
Saturday night during the Broncos’ 78-57 loss at BYU, Papenfus made his season debut. While he didn’t score, missing both of his shot attempts, Papenfus did accumulate one rebound and one steal during his time on the floor. Following the game, BYU sent Papenfus a nice shout-out on Twitter.
Welcome back, Andrew.
Entering his seventh season as the head coach at Santa Clara, Kerry Keating has won 100 games and ranks behind only Gonzaga’s Mark Few and Saint Mary’s head coach Randy Bennett on the list of the most successful coaches in the WCC in the last decade. In two of the last three seasons Keating’s Broncos have won 20-plus games and a postseason tournament title, winning the CollegeInsider.com tournament in 2011 and the CBI last year.
Just three weeks before the Broncos begin their 2013-14 regular season, the school announced that Keating has been rewarded with a multi-year contract extension. Being that Santa Clara’s a private institution, specific terms of the extension haven’t been released.
“We are confident in Coach Keating’s leadership of our basketball program,” Santa Clara AD Dan Coonan said in the release. “In addition to the recent success, I like the youth in the program, the depth of talent and the way they are all buying in. We’ve graduated each of the 17 seniors to go through the program with Coach, but beyond that I love what they are telling us in their exit interviews.
“They relished their time here as student-athletes, they grew as athletes and as people in the program, and they are having the type of transformational life experience that we seek for all our teams. The program is headed in the right direction, and Kerry is the right person to bring us to the next level.”
The Broncos do have some key personnel losses to address entering the 2013-14 campaign, most notably high-scoring guard Kevin Foster, guard Raymond Cowels III and forward Marc Trasolini. But guard Evan Rocquemore, one of the best perimeter players in the WCC, returns for his senior campaign and will be asked to lead Keating’s young squad.