Vienna waits for health
Vienna Vercesi was looking forward to a great final season with Niagara Prep in the Ontario Scholastic Basketball Association.
Unfortunately, fate had other plans for her. During training camp before the start of pre-season, she tore the ACL in her left knee.
“I knew in the moment that I had torn my ACL, but obviously it was I just had to put my head down, get through the surgery, get through the rehab so I could play next season and then make up for my lost senior season,” said the recent recruit of the Brock women’s team.
The 18-year-old Niagara Falls resident had lots of help to get through a difficult season of all rehab and no play.
“The initial day when I found out was the hardest day but looking back at it, I had my team around me and I had their support. I also had support from my coaches and huge support from my parents (Sergio and Shelley) and my brother (Ethan).”
Her brother was at the top of her support system.
“He was the one to say, ‘Vienna don’t look at its as a negative. Look at it as a positive and just get through it. I know it sucks but you have got this. You can do it.’ He was always just that person for me.”
It has been 21 weeks since she had surgery and she is progressing well.
“I am able to run, shoot mid-range shots and I can do very controlled movements laterally.”
Vercesi is about two or three months away from full-contact drills which should mesh nicely with training for her rookie season of Ontario University Athletics action.
“I am looking forward to that,” she said.
The 5-foot-10 guard/forward, who started playing basketball with the Niagara Falls Red Raiders when she was six years old and moved on to play with Niagara Juel Prep and Niagara Girls Basketball Academy Juel Prep, has always been interested in suiting up for Brock.
“When I first started playing prep two years ago, I knew that I wanted to play basketball at the university level and I kind of had the idea where I wanted to go. I wanted to go to Brock.”
She was attracted to the Badgers because of a desire to stay close to home and having a chance to play again with former teammates, Allison Addy and Madalyn Weinert.
“It was an idea in my head and once I got on campus it kind of clicked and everything came together. I knew that I wanted to go there.”
Brock head coach Mike Rao was delighted to land Vercesi.
“I think she is going to be an impact player right off the bat. I have seen her play for several years and she’s dynamic,” he said. “She had the injury and I am hoping she gets through it. So far, her rehab is going great and I am hoping she is at the level that I think she is at.”
He is impressed with her skill set.
“I like her versatility. She can play anywhere from two to five and she’s tough. She is hard-nosed and she knows what the level is.”
Vercesi is heading to Brock with high expectations.
“My goals are to come back and play because I haven’t actually played in a year now,” the A.N. Myer student said. “I am aiming for more of the recovery path than major goals but I am still looking forward to a double double a game or even just getting the normal minutes (25 minutes per game) I would have gotten in OSBA.”
The future kinesiology student at Brock is excited to hear Rao’s comments about her.
“It is really encouraging because coming off of this injury it is a mindset and it is knowing that you are OK and you can do it,” she said. “Obviously it is nice to hear that, especially coming in as a rookie.”
Photo courtesy of Brock Athletics.