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In the Mississippi Valley,
In the Crescent Bend
Stands our loved and noble Xavier,
Far her praises send.
Wave her colors bear them onward
Gold and white so true
Hail to thee, all hail, dear Xavier
Hail, all hail, X.U.!
Xavier, ever be our guide
And lead us on the way,
Through life's journey, onward, upward
To the eternal day. (Refrain)
in the bag. Kenner
is a starter for the Gold Rush — a defensive and 3-point-shooting specialist —
and has helped Xavier win 17-of-23 games this season and earn a No. 25 ranking in this
week's NAIA Division I coaches poll. With one semester to complete, his cumulative grade-point
average at Xavier is 3.62. He survived organic chemistry, the MCAT and his first interview for medical school.
Xavier's Kenner will take his talents to medical school
February 2, 2012
NEW ORLEANS — In a ninth-grade biology class at
Jesuit High School, Jamaan Kenner made a discovery. He wanted to attend medical school.
"It was my first biology class. It was a college-level class," said
Kenner, a 6-foot-4 senior guard on the Xavier
University of Louisiana men's basketball team. "We were studying the body. I was intrigued."
Eight years later his journey continues. Kenner, a biology/pre-medical major,
has been accepted to the School of Medicine of LSU Health Sciences Center at Shreveport.
Three other applications are pending, but it's nice to have one
"My family has
I could become
a doctor more than
And I've always
I could do this."
— Jamaan Kenner
"I was nervous at first at the interview. But I didn't get any
hard questions," Kenner said. "They just wanted to know who you are."
No doubt about it — these are good times for Kenner. He's earned them.
"When I think of Jamaan, I think of sacrifice," XU head coach
Dannton Jackson said. "Other students are probably having more fun than he is.
Jamaan has been playing college basketball and going through a strenuous curriculum
at a tough university to prepare for medical school. But he has displayed the character,
the work ethic and the discipline to do both. And he's just as good a person as he is a
student and a basketball player. He's balanced."
As a child Kenner pursued good grades "because I was scared of
getting in trouble with my dad." But as he got older, his rationale changed.
He wanted to better himself. Fears turned into something positive.
"When I started getting good grades, I didn't want to slack off,"
Kenner said. "My family has been motivational. They've believed I could become a doctor
more than I've believed. And I've always believed I could do this."
Kenner didn't remain at Jesuit. After Hurricane Katrina in 2005,
he enrolled at East St. John High School in his hometown, LaPlace, La., and didn't
miss a beat. At ESJ he was a member of an eight-student team which received
second place in the Junior Engineering Technical Society's Test of Engineering,
Aptitude, Mathematics and Science Competition.
He chose Xavier over city rival Loyola and NCAA Division I member
William & Mary. "Xavier was the best fit for me," Kenner said. "The sciences
are great here, it was close to home, and Coach Jackson was always nice to me.
He's always understood that school comes first."
The past two summers Kenner participated in breast cancer
research in XU's College of Pharmacy under the guidance of Dr. KiTani Parker-Johnson.
"Jamaan was a joy to have in the lab. He did so well the
first summer that we brought him back the next summer," Parker-Johnson said.
"That doesn't happen often. I was impressed with his work ethic, his tenacity and
his focus. He has good hands, which is important in bench research. He was able to
tweak an experiement and get the results he was looking for."
Kenner plans to concentrate on sports medicine —
"I havenít decided yet on primary care or surgery," he said — and if he has his way,
he'll be back in New Orleans to stay.
"My goal is to be the team doctor for one of the local
teams," Kenner said. "The Saints or the Hornets — that would be perfect."