N.J. basketball manager inspires team without ever hitting shot

Photo: Peter Ackerman

N.J. basketball manager inspires team without ever hitting shot

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N.J. basketball manager inspires team without ever hitting shot

RUMSON – He’s never hit a game-winning shot or been honored for scoring his 1,000th point, and the reverse dunk isn’t part of his arsenal.

But Jack Velcamp has been as responsible for the rise of Rumson-Fair Haven boys basketball as any of the Division I talent that has filtered through the program.

While he stands just 4-foot-2, Velcamp, a team manager since the fourth grade, has all the stature of a leading scorer, providing inspiring performances daily by employing a grace and resilience often reserved for the greatest athletes in the world to deal with dwarfism.

“He was my top recruit when I got here,” said head coach Chris Champeau, who arrived eight years ago, helping the Bulldogs be the Shore Conference’s most successful program during that stretch.

It’s the ultimate tale of hardwood heroics, about an 18-year-old who has achieved rock star status even though he’s different. It highlights the impact a community, a school and an athletic program can have on a young life.

“I never could have imagined any of this, and it basically turned my life around,” said Velcamp, who also works with the school’s football and baseball teams, “because if I didn’t have any of this and the other sports, I don’t know where I’d be.”

Velcamp and his twin brother, P.J., began as managers with the Bulldogs’ football team, picking up basketball two years later.

While P.J. Velcamp was a 5-11 receiver last fall for a team that played in its fifth straight NJSIAA sectional championship game — winning four of them — Jack Velcamp sported a “USA” on his chest last summer when he played basketball at the World Dwarf Games in Ontario, Canada.

And on Feb. 1, Jack Velcamp will don a Bulldogs jersey and walk out onto the court in the starting lineup against Holmdel in what will be as electrifying a Senior Night as the Jersey Shore has ever experienced.

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N.J. basketball manager inspires team without ever hitting shot
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