The Torch

Catching Up with D.J. Kennedy

The thirteenth all-time scorer in St. John’s history finds success overseas

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Catching Up with D.J. Kennedy

D.J. Kennedy celebrates after Overseas Elite captures their fourth straight championship

D.J. Kennedy celebrates after Overseas Elite captures their fourth straight championship

Photo Courtesy/TBT

D.J. Kennedy celebrates after Overseas Elite captures their fourth straight championship

Photo Courtesy/TBT

Photo Courtesy/TBT

D.J. Kennedy celebrates after Overseas Elite captures their fourth straight championship

Nick Bello, Social Media Manager

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For former St. John’s guard D.J. Kennedy, basketball has given him the opportunity to travel the world as he has built an illustrious career playing overseas. Kennedy, who is ranked thirteenth all-time in scoring at St. John’s, has played in six countries over his seven-year professional career.

In a recent interview with the Torch, Kennedy talked about how the game of basketball has brought him to different corners of the world.

“I’ve seen a lot of places that I thought I probably wouldn’t ever see due to basketball,” he said.

At St. John’s, Kennedy scored 1,504 points in his career and was part of the 2010-11 team that turned the Red Storm program around by making it all the way to the NCAA Tournament after not making to the Tournament for many years prior.

Although Kennedy suffered an injury in his senior season, he still put up 10.4 points per game in what was his favorite season as a Johnnie.

“It was bittersweet for me being that I got injured,” Kennedy said. “That whole year was amazing for us, for everything we did to make a run like that, [it] was just great.”

Kennedy’s professional career got off to a rocky start as he went undrafted in the 2011 NBA Draft. He was later acquired by the Erie BayHawks of the D-League before later signing with the Cleveland Cavaliers in April of 2012. In 2013, Kennedy was named to D-League All-Star team and later went on to win the 2013 NBA D-League Championship with the Rio Grande Vipers.

He would later go on to play for four NBA teams and also played in the NBA Summer League with Miami, Minnesota and Houston.

“It was a good experience for me,” Kennedy said about his time in the NBA. “It’s a tough business, you just gotta hope you have the right opportunity and you’re in the right situation.”

Kennedy’s first experience overseas came in the fall of 2013 when he signed with BCM Gravelines in France. Kennedy played in only eight games for Gravelines before playing for Hapoel Holon of Israel in 2014. Kennedy’s overseas journey has taken him to France, Germany, Russia, China and, recently, Turkey.

In November of last year Kennedy signed with Pinar Karşiyaka of Turkey where he averaged an impressive 19 points and 8.4 rebounds per game in 18 appearances. Kennedy was later named to the Star Lineup of the Basketball Champions League.

Although Kennedy has experienced a lot of success overseas, he has also been successful on American soil in an event called The Basketball Tournament. This tournament featured 18 teams from across the country who competes in a high stakes basketball competition for $2 million. Kennedy, who plays for Overseas Elite, captured his fourth straight championship last Friday night where he contributed 14 points and nine rebounds in the win, and was also named MVP of the tournament for the second time in his TBT career.

Overseas Elite also features Paris Horne and Justin Burrell who were teammates of Kennedy’s at St. John’s.

“We have that chemistry and we know each other real well,” Kennedy said about playing with Horne and Burrell. “We know how each other play and we play off one another.”

Kennedy got involved with The Basketball Tournament through Horne, whose agency started a team. This year, however, it featured a St. John’s alumni team that was coached by Kevin Clark, another former teammate of Kennedy’s at St. John’s.

Kennedy however never thought about playing for Clark’s alumni team in this year’s tournament.

“I don’t think any of us even considered it,” Kennedy said when asked if him Horne or Burrell thought about joining Clark’s team.

Kennedy’s performance last Friday night showed that the 28-year-old has a lot of game left in him.

“I haven’t given [retirement] any thought yet,” Kennedy said. “It’s great to be able to travel the world and make as much money as you can doing what you love to do.”

Although Kennedy hasn’t planned out life after basketball, coming back to St. John’s to be a part of the athletics program or even to coach, would be something he is willing to try.

“[St. John’s has] one of the best supporting casts in terms of fans and alumni,” he said. “I would definitely like to be a part of that if the opportunity came about.”

For right now, however, Kennedy is going to keep playing overseas where he still keeps tabs on St. John’s basketball. Although games are not broadcasted on cable, Kennedy finds ways to watch his alma mater.

“I always keep a tab on them to see how things are going,” he said.

 

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Nick Bello, Social Media Manager

Nick Bello is a sophomore communications major. He spent his freshman year as Assistant Photo Editor and also wrote for the Sports and News sections. This...

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Catching Up with D.J. Kennedy