Vermont’s Speidel Gets First Start, Points of Collegiate Career

(Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports)

In a men’s college basketball game against Albany on Tuesday night, the University of Vermont’s Josh Speidel finally scored the first points of his college career.

Five years ago on the Super Bowl Sunday of 2015, Speidel, a great high school basketball player who committed to Vermont over Gonzaga, months before he was set to begin his college career, was in a bad car accident that left him in a coma for several weeks.

The doctor’s original prognosis was that Josh would never be able to do anything above a fourth-grade level, including speaking and writing. Needless to say, they believed basketball would never be an option.

Vermont basketball coach John Becker visited the family in the months following the accident and told Speidel and his family that the University would still honor his scholarship. Speidel has served as the equivalent of the team manager alongside Becker since coming on campus, making him part of the team.

He even roomed with various teammates in his time at Vermont.

Fast forward five years, Speidel is set to graduate from Vermont in the spring. On Tuesday night, Becker, along with Albany coach Will Brown, came up with a perfect way to begin Vermont Senior Night game. Because of Speidel’s accident, he was unable to participate in his high school’s own Senior Night years earlier.

Speidel made his first collegiate start and, after the tip-off, scored the first points of his college career. The team called a timeout to take him out of the game to a standing ovation.

If nothing else Tuesday night proved that sometimes basketball or any sport got that matter is more than just a game. A remarkable way to honor a remarkable young man who has overcome remarkable odds, defying the doctors and their grim diagnoses. 

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