Men’s Basketball signs 11-year-old
By Aaron Cheris
Nov 18, 2014
During the early signing period in college basketball, schools all across the country are adding talented players that should help their programs succeed on the court.
The newest Great Dane isn’t judged by his stats or his stature. The only attributes that he will be judged on are his toughness and his determination.
In addition to signing high school seniors Kyle McKinley and Joe Cremo, the University at Albany signed 11-year-old JP Honsinger to a National Letter of Intent.
Honsinger, a sixth-grader from Clifton Park, N.Y., has been diagnosed with Niemann-Pick disease Type C, also known as childhood Alzheimer’s. Symptoms include loss of memory and balance, lung and liver failure, seizures, and delayed motor development. The debilitating disease is very rare and has no known cure.
“Nobody in the country will be signing a player with JP’s toughness,” UAlbany head coach Will Brown said in a press release. “His character and toughness will allow him to make an immediate impact on our program.”
Honsinger’s signing is the latest in a slew of accolades for the middle school student. In January, he was sworn in as an honorary cop in Troy and was promoted to Honorary Police Captain in October. In September, Honsinger practiced with the UAlbany men’s lacrosse team.
Honsinger’s new teammates are impressed with what they see. “We met him a few weeks ago,” team captain Peter Hooley said of Honsinger. “You walked in, saw the kid smile, and it doesn’t matter what mood you are in, you smiled right away.”
The idea to make Honsinger a Great Dane was Brown’s. “I wanted to do something. I found out that he was a sports junkie and really liked basketball,” Brown said. “JP was excited. He’s been to practice, he’ll be at the game on Wednesday.”
For Brown, the goal of the signing was to bring awareness for Honsinger and Niemman-Pick disease. “I had no idea what was going to happen nationally. If one national media outlet picked it up, I thought it would be a success,” Brown said. By that standard, the signing has been as successful as it could have been. Sports Illustrated, CBS Sports, and ESPN are just some of the national outlets that have picked up Honsinger’s story. “Everybody picked it up, and I just felt really good,” Brown added.
The youngest signing in UAlbany history, Honsinger will be joining the two time defending America East champions, who have nine new players on the team this season. Honsinger’s teammates are looking forward to having their newest addition on the squad. “I think everybody is excited to have him around the program,” Hooley said.
For Brown, the end result is simple. “It’s not about Albany basketball, it’s about JP and his family and helping raise awareness. I’m excited for them and I’m glad that I was able to help contribute in some way,” he said.
After opening their season with a loss in Providence, R.I. on Saturday night, UAlbany plays it’s home opener on Wednesday, Nov. 19 at 7 p.m. against NJIT. Their newest signee will be in attendance.
For more information on Honsinger’s battle and how to support to his cause, visit jamminforjp.com