🏀 Jonathan Phog Bemberger, aka JP, Joins Kansas As Team IMPACT Signee
LAWRENCE, Kan. – Kansas men’s basketball announced 16-year-old Jonathan Phog Bemberger, also known as JP, of Lenexa, Kansas, has been named an official member of the team through Team IMPACT. JP was diagnosed with Ewing’s Sarcoma, a form of pediatric cancer, and underwent chemotherapy, radiation and surgery in fighting the illness.
Kansas coach Bill Self, the KU staff and the 2020-21 Jayhawks welcomed JP to the program through a Zoom videoconference. JP, his family and Team IMPACT officials were also part of the videoconference. During the zoom, JP and his father, Tom, informed the group that after the nine months of treatments, JP is cancer free and on the road to recovery.
“From my standpoint JP, I think you fit the criteria we always try to recruit to,” Self said. “We recruit to character, grit, determination and, most importantly, toughness. You fill all those qualities and that would give you a chance to be a good player in our program. Even though this has been an awful ordeal that you had to go through, I can’t imagine, it is also an opportunity for you to spread your story and be an unbelievable example to others.”
JP is described as reserved and very intelligent. He loves basketball, enjoys scary movies and watching “The Office” on television. His parents, Tom and Michelle, met as undergrad students at KU and his sister, Mya, is a sophomore at Kansas.
“We are so excited to be able to hook up with this. It’s been a really tough year,” Tom Bemberger said. “We’ve been following Jayhawk basketball for years and you know his middle name (Phog). This really means a lot to us.”
Team IMPACT is the only U.S. nonprofit that tackles the emotional trauma and social isolation experienced by children facing serious and chronic illnesses. Through Team IMPACT, children like JP are drafted onto college athletic teams for a two-year therapeutic program that complements their medical treatments, allowing the children to develop relationships and skills that help them complete the full circle of healing. Visit http://www.teamimpact.org for more information on the organization.