Kennedy’s emergence helps lead Hawkeyes to Final Four


John Kennedy’s goal when he began his high school career was to wrestle.

However, when he arrived for his sophomore season at 6’8, he was too heavy.

“The cutoff is 285 pounds, and I was just a little bit over that,” Kennedy said.  “I wasn’t going to make weight for the matches.”

It was a reality that took Kennedy some time to come to terms with.

“I decided to wrestle last year because my dad had wrestled,” Kennedy said.  “It was a little upsetting when I first figured out (I wouldn’t be able to wrestle anymore).  Now, I don’t really mind it.  I am who I am.  It’s not like I can change that.”

He then took up basketball, but the transition got off to a rocky start.

“The first day of practice, he was tripping over himself,” Jack Lambert said.  “Now he has his drop step down and all of his moves.  His growth has been outstanding.”

Kennedy can feel the difference in his game from the start of the season to now.

“I think I’ve gotten way more confident,” he said.  “I realized how much I can actually do and I’ve gotten a lot more coordinated.  I think that’s really helped a lot.”

With Kennedy in the fold, the Hawkeyes reached their first state final four since 2012.

“The fact that you have a 6’8, 285-pound center in the middle of the lane in case your man happens to get past you, is really comforting for the guards up front,” head coach John Lambert said.

Kennedy and Cooperstown are hoping to cap their season with a state championship this weekend.

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