OVERCOMING CANCER, SERIOUS INJURIES
Duquesne had plenty of games, matches and battles over the course of the decade, but some of those carried more weight than others.
On the men’s basketball side, guard Derrick Colter was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and battled to return to the court the way he knew best, quietly, all while overcoming the emotion of losing his brother.
Quietly Colter fought and stayed in Pittsburgh to ensure he received the best treatments possible and he battled to return to the court.
Colter scored 1,695 career points, good for a 13.6 point average and started all 125 games he appeared in. He was a steady leader in his time at Duquesne.
Additionally, John Rhodes, an assistant on the men’s basketball team during Jim Ferry’s five seasons as Duquesne’s coach was diagnosed with stage four squamous cell carcinoma cancer. Rhodes also was hit by a car crossing a street in Philadelphia, which required immediate surgery as he had a neck injury and two broken bones in his left leg.
Rhodes, who always outgoing and quick to offer a smile, handshake and hug to anyone in proximity, battled through the surgery and treatment and returned to the court. Prior to a non-conference game, both Colter and Rhodes were recognized in an emotional moment that earned both a standing ovation, a clear sign of respect for each’s respective battles.
On the women’s basketball side, Erin Waskowiak was involved in a serious car accident with the family vehicle which almost caused her to lose a leg and then as a return to the court was in the realm of possibility suffered a torn ACL, again requiring surgery.
The car crash occurred during her first week at Duquesne and the car, driven by her brother, pinned her against a wall. She wound up with compound fractures of her tibia and fibula.
Her ultimate return came when she replaced Conor Richardson on the court in a non-conference game against Slippery Rock, where Waskowiak received a standing ovation in a very emotional moment.
Waskowiak did not play much in her Duquesne career, but her story never was about playing time, but her determination to return to the court and play the game she loved.
Forward Eniko Kuttor also had a serious health scare as she was diagnosed with having blood clots in her lungs. Kuttor was able to become tougher as a person as she battled through the diagnosis and even stayed at head coach Dan Burt’s house for a couple of weeks as she recovered.
Kuttor who was Duquesne’s Dennis Rodman had to display some of her trademark nastiness in her battle and learned not to take the small things for granted. She would return to the court playing 13 games and starting in her senior day.