Point Guard Battles Through Injuries To Make Comeback

Posted: November 25, 2010

Runs in the family
Justin Wolverton has travelled a long road of battling through injuries to be back for another season with the Clippers. The 26 year-old point guard is back playing the sport he loves competitively, after last playing with the Clippers in the 2003-04 season.

Wolverton is in just his second year of CCAA eligibility, but having grown up with a family of basketball players, he has been playing the sport for 16 years now. His mom and dad (Terry and Leigh) both played, along with his older brothers, Jerry and Gene (now Justin’s coach at Briercrest), and his sister Jacklyn, who all played college basketball for the Briercrest Clippers. Wolverton says that his family has been the biggest influence on his basketball career.

From success to adversity
Wolverton was a very successful player in high school, where he played for the Caronport High School Cougars and was coached by Gib Hinz, whom Wolverton credits as a “being very influential in my development throughout high school”.

While playing for Hinz, he won a Provincial silver medal in 2000 and then a City Championship and Provincial Championship in 2002. In between, Wolverton played on Team Saskatchewan for the summer of 2001.

Unfortunately, along with the great basketball genes that run I the family, so does a history of knee injuries. In his final year of high school, Wolverton tore is ACL near the end of the season, which required him to have reconstructive surgery.

The following year, he was a red shirt in his first ACAC season with the Briercrest Clippers, while his knee fully recovered. That same year, both his brothers were on the Clipper team as well, and he watched them both suffer through the same season-ending injuries he had the season before.

The 2003-04 season, was Wolverton’s first on the active roster for the Clippers, and shortly into the year, during their first exhibition game, he again had a knee injury which forced him to have surgery.

Since that time, he has been working and playing pick-up basketball for the past seven years. Unfortunately, the injury troubles were not over, as Wolverton broke both of his ankles in a six month span last year, playing pick-up ball!

Playing for his brother
After a year of recovery, Wolverton is happy to finally be back to full health and excited about another opportunity to play basketball competitively again - this time for his brother, Gene, as head coach.

“Coaching my brother at the college level has been a very unique opportunity” said the elder Wolverton. “I don't think there have been many coaches at this level that have had the opportunity to coach their brother . . . we respect each other and see each other in our respective positions which makes for a great coach player relationship.”

Coach Wolverton believes his younger brother is a key aspect of their team this year.

“Justin brings a positive can-do attitude to every practice and game”, said Coach. “His maturity helps to keep the emotions at an even level as he brings a calm presence to team. He gives 100% effort and really works hard to encourage his teammates and empower them.”

Basketball and music
Basketball, however, was not the only thing that drew him back to Briercrest.

“I chose to come back to Briercrest because I wanted to start studying music and decided that a year at Briercrest would be a good place to start. I liked the opportunity to live with my family and spend some time near them.”

Some of his  favorite things to do other than basketball are playing and creating music, as well as listening to classical, jazz and instrumental music. He particularly enjoys composers Rachmaninoff, Chopin, Liszt, Debussy, and Gershwin. He also enjoys doing all types of other sports and physical activities – “everything from mountain biking to gymnastics.” Wolverton also enjoys reading, with C.S. Lewis and J.R. Tolkien being his favorite authors

Wolverton is enrolled in the AA in Music Performance program at Briercrest, with an emphasis in Piano Performance. He is excited about the opportunities he has in front of him.

“Apart from doing what I can to have a positive influence on the men's basketball team”, says Wolverton, “I intend to learn as much about music and improve my ability to play piano while I attend Briercrest in the hopes that I will be able to perform and teach piano. I also have a desire to learn to tune and repair pianos.”