Kennedy picks hardwood over nets

Down to one sport: Poly Prep’s three-sport star Jacquie Kennedy committed to play basketball at Holy Family.
Photo by Joseph Staszewski

Poly Prep’s Jacquie Kennedy’s days as a three-sport athlete has come to an end.

The senior, who plays volleyball, basketball, and softball at the Bay Ridge school, has committed to play women’s basketball at Holy Family University — and probably won’t have time to play her other two favorite sports.

“I’ll probably have a lot more time on my hands, but college level is a bit different,” said Kennedy, who is considered the first lady of volleyball, but had to miss three weeks of regulation play after suffering a high ankle sprain.

Her coaches were stunned by the decision to play basketball in college, claiming that Kennedy could have played for a top-division school if she stuck with spiking.

“She’s a good overall athlete, but she could have really picked it up if she wanted to,” said Poly Prep volleyball coach Venessa Ruck. “If she wanted to excel in volleyball she absolutely could. She is that good.”

But Kennedy says basketball has always been her first love — as well as the sport she’s played the longest. She dedicated herself to hoops in the off season, playing travel ball with the NYC Lady Warriors over the last two summers, learning the subtle nuances of the game from coaches Joe DeLuca and Ahmed Allen.

“Over the past two years I felt I’ve grown as a player,” she said.

The five-foot-10 Kennedy, who can is considered an underrated defender, helped lead the Blue Devils to the New York State Association of Independent School’s basketball final last season.

She is hoping to do the same with the school’s volleyball team.

The season got off to a slow start with her sitting and watching the team struggle because of both her injury and senior Kerri Saputo’s strained Achilles tendon.

But the Blue Devils’ play has improved of late. The team won the school’s Brooklyn’s Best tournament without Kennedy in late September and posted victories in six of the team’s next seven matches, including one over Fieldston, the defending state champions.

Reach reporter Joseph Staszewski at jstaszewski@cnglocal.com. Follow him on twitter @cng_staszewski.

More from Around New York