State Colleges

Newman's Wesley keeps goal in sight

More than anything, Carolyn Hall wants her son to get an education.

It's what she's wanted from the first moment colleges came sniffing around Bobby Wesley at Garden City High four years ago, looking for a point guard to run their team.

It's what she wanted when he helped lead Garden City Community College to its first Region VI title in 53 years in 2009. It's what she wanted when he got in big trouble two years ago.

But it wasn't until Wesley, a junior at Newman, destroyed his knee last year that the message finally hit home.

"I'd torn the ACL and the MCL and it was just... they were telling me I might not even be able to play again," Wesley said. "And I'm facing down this long rehabilitation process without any idea if I'll ever even get back out there and my mom, she called me and told me that she'd take care of me financially while I got better. Not to worry about my bills or anything like that, just to focus on school and getting healthy.

"At that point I knew that if I would've failed, I would've failed her as well."

Wesley has done anything but fail in the year since. He's back at almost full strength for the Jets after receiving a medical redshirt and is on track to graduate with a degree next fall in criminal justice. A dual degree in business is still a possibility.

"That doesn't surprise me about Carolyn, she's one of the best people you'll ever meet," Garden City Community College coach Kris Baumann said. "And Bobby is one of my favorites, one of the best kids I've ever coached. He's a legend out here... he comes back and he's like family."

Wesley came to Newman before last season after two years as one of the top point guards in the Jayhawk Conference, but not without his own troubles.

Wesley pled guilty to a charge of marijuana possession in the summer of 2009 and was put on one year's probation, which he completed successfully. Wesley's brother was also charged in the same case.

"I still feel like it was a misunderstanding," Wesley said. "But I got a good lawyer who was there for me, who supported me and I learned a lot about myself. I'm much more aware of who I surround myself with now... it was a huge learning experience."

Just clear of his legal troubles, he found himself dealing with a catastrophic knee injury after strong showings against Wichita State and Kansas State in the preseason.

"My life has changed a lot in the last year," Wesley said. "Since the injury, my social life has been pretty much non-existent. The things that matter to me are getting the right amount of rest, eating the right things, studying and getting my knee better."

Wesley has full clearance to play from his doctors and the Newman medical staff, but estimates his knee is about 75 percent.

"I've had to change my game quite a bit," Wesley said. "Where I used to just drive the lane like crazy, I'm a little more timid in that aspect but it's coming back. Now, I guess I'll pull up for a short jumper a little more."

But more important than that?

"I'm in a good situation, I'm surrounded by good people," Wesley said. "I love living in Wichita. I love the campus. I've made a lot of good friends and I'm lucky to be where I'm at."

Transfers should help Newman women — Second-year women's coach Jamie Green buoyed her lineup in the offseason with high-profile Division I transfers, led by a trio of former Jayhawk Conference standouts in Labette Community College's Satoria Bell (Temple), Hutchinson's Ariella McGhee (New Mexico State) and Cowley's Anna Sonka (Toledo).

All three will play their final year of eligibility for the Jets, along with Kansas State transfer Alina Voronenko, a 6-foot-2 forward. Bell averaged 8.2 points for Temple last season.