Former Castle basketball star Jack Nunge appeared to have the World on a string when he signed on the dotted line with Iowa. However, that's when his trials truly began.
Now he's looking to turn his scars into stars with a change of scenery.
"I've just had to learn a lot of resilience in everything that's happened to me," says Nunge.
And what's happened to Nunge in his relatively young basketball career has been a lot. The 6-eleven star center had a storied career at Castle, eventually leading him to the Hawkeye State and Iowa. After redshirting the 2018-19 season, a knee injury short-circuited a promising first year on the floor. Jack returned for the 2020-2021 campaign, better than ever, when he received the shocking news that his father, Mark Nunge, an emergency medicine physician at St. Vincent's, unexpectedly passed away at the age of 53 on November 21st. After missing a pair of games to be with his family back in Newburgh, Jack picked up where he left off at Iowa, highlighted by a a career-high 18 point,11 rebound, 6 assist performance against Michigan State in February. However 3 games later, it was all over, as injuries to both knees at Michigan ended Jack's comeback season. On March 30th, Jack made the tough decision of leaving the Hawkeye program to move closer to home, eventually leading him to Xavier in Cincinnati.
"So far, it's been awesome," says Nunge. "Moved here really early in the summer, even while I was still taking classes at Iowa, so I really got acclimated to the area pretty early on. I was able to make a pretty seamless move from Iowa City to Cincinnati. Everything with basketball worked out great. So far the program's been awesome and I love it."
Despite moving to a much bigger city, Jack's surroundings are much smaller on the Xavier campus. And it's that environment, coupled with the culture around the Xavier basketball program that has got Jack smiling once again.
"It's much smaller than Iowa," says Nunge. "Iowa's 20-thousand students. Football's the big sport there. I haven't even played yet this season, but I can already tell how important basketball is to the University. All my professors are basketball fans. I think that's really awesome and the culture here is great."
Now there's been several bumps on the road on the way to the Queen City of Ohio, however as famous poet Robert Frost once wrote, the one less traveled has made all the difference, at least to Jack, it has.
"Being an older guy," says Nunge. "I truly can say I'm a veteran, with everything that's happened. I think I'm able to maintain pretty good patience through everything and really just have the right perspective going into everything. Not taking things for granted and giving my all every day."