For Jok family, Penn-Iowa a long way from Sudan

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For Jok family, Penn-Iowa a long way from Sudan

Tonight at the University of Iowa, two brothers will play against each other in a Division I college basketball game.

On its own, this is an achievement few families can match.

Now throw in the fact that another one of their brothers will be playing for a high school state football championship just a couple of hours away, and it becomes even more surreal.

And when you consider that just 10 years ago the Jok family -- among them Penn senior guard Dau Jok and Iowa freshman swingman Peter Jok -- escaped from war-torn Southern Sudan after their father, a general in the Sudan People’s Liberation Army, was murdered … well, tonight’s athletic festivities in Iowa can be described only as a remarkable testament of courage and determination.

“It’s incredible,” said Dau, shaking his head in disbelief, shortly before departing for Iowa with his Penn teammates. “It’s a blessing, man.”

“It’s crazy,” Peter told reporters in Iowa. “I never thought I would get to play him. But it is a great opportunity at the end of the day, so I’m just looking to take advantage of that.”

While the youngest brother, Jo Jo Jok, a defensive end at Dowling Catholic in West Des Moines, will be playing in a title game at the University of Northern Iowa, the main event will be in Iowa City, where the Joks expect at least 40 family members to be in attendance for the Iowa-Penn hoops clash at Carver-Hawkeye Arena (7 p.m., Big Ten Network).

For Dau, this is an especially meaningful game as it marks a long-awaited return to Iowa, the state where his mother brought the family in 2003 after they fled Sudan and made pit stops in Rumbek and Uganda.

Dau didn’t know anything about basketball when they first settled in Des Moines but began to play the game at a local YMCA to avoid the gang life that plagued some other Sudanese refugees. And when he learned basketball could be a path to an education, he started to take the sport more seriously -- and very nearly accepted an offer on the spot from former Penn head coach Glen Miller.

“We came here for a better life,” Dau said. “And that better life is through education.”

Dau has yet to become a true impact player in college, having played in a reserve capacity during his first three seasons, as well as in the first three games of his senior year. But his impact at Penn has been measured in other ways -- as a campus leader who devours all aspects of academia and recently applied for a Fulbright Scholarship, as an activist who began his own foundation for Southern Sudanese children and as a basketball captain who’s always the first one off the bench to greet his teammates during timeouts.

Why does he care so much about Penn basketball when he doesn’t play that much and has so many other big things happening in his life?

“Freshman year when I wasn’t playing, I had to decide: You can be really mad on the bench and be a cancer, but what does that do?” Jok said. “That doesn’t change the coach’s position. That doesn’t make him play you more. So I was like, ‘If I’m here, I’m going to try to have an impact and cheer on the guys who are playing. It’s not their decision I’m not playing.’”

As for tonight’s game, Jok said, “Whether I play 30 seconds or 10 minutes, Coach [Jerome] Allen knows I’m going to go out there and bust my butt.” He’d do that for any game, of course. But he has a lot riding on this one after dishing out some friendly trash talk with his brother.

“It started in the summer and I was like, ‘We’re going to give you guys one of your few non-conference losses,” Dau said. “That was the extent. To be honest with you, there’s no need for it. I don’t think they’re going to be ready for us. Their first four games have been blowouts. So I don’t think they’re going to be prepared for us.

“I need the W. The rest of my life, I’m going to be able to call him and just say, ‘We beat you guys.’”

The competitive streak between the two brothers goes back a long way. Dau has broken game systems when he plays video games with Peter. And he still boasts that he has a winning record against him playing one-on-one.

But Dau will also be the first to tell you that Peter has long since surpassed him on the basketball court, where he was once one of the nation’s top high school players and is already averaging 9.8 points per game through four games at a Big Ten school.

“I’m the least athletic in my family,” Dau said. “I like to joke about that.”

But even though Peter is the better player and the Hawkeyes -- coached by former Penn guard Fran McCaffery -- the better team, Dau is confident that the big brother will prevail in this one. He also plans to make sure his family members will be pulling for the underdogs from Philly. Although when asked if Penn can pull the upset, Dau said, “I wouldn’t call it an upset.”

“I’m telling people if they’re going to sit on my side, they’ll have to wear something Penn,” Dau laughed. “They can cheer for individuals. But when it comes to teams, they better cheer for Penn. After all, we’re the better school.”

But no matter who wins, when the final horn sounds, Dau will shake hands with Peter, walk back into the visitors’ locker room and think about their old lives in a different world, when thousands of spectators cheering them on in a college basketball game was not even tangible enough to be considered a dream.

“It’s crazy where we were and where we are now,” Dau said. “Every once in a while, I’m reminded how far our journeys have taken us.”

Jerry Sandusky accuser asks to limit questioning, protect identity

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USA Today Images

Jerry Sandusky accuser asks to limit questioning, protect identity

HARRISBURG, Pa. — A man who claims he told Penn State football coach Joe Paterno in 1976 that he was sexually abused as a teen by Jerry Sandusky asked a judge Wednesday to protect his identity and limit questioning by lawyers in a lawsuit brought by Paterno's family against college sports' governing body.

Lawyers for the man called John Doe 150 said he gave a sworn deposition in October 2014 in a related case, brought by Penn State against its insurer over coverage for Sandusky-related claims, and that he should not have to endure another one.

He previously testified under oath about his abuse claims "and his reporting of the abuse to Coach Joseph Paterno and Penn State," his lawyers told Judge John Leete, who is presiding in the Paternos' lawsuit against the NCAA.

"Forcing John Doe 150 to sit through yet another deposition is not only duplicative, unnecessary and unduly burdensome, but it would force this victim of childhood sexual abuse to, again, relive the trauma of his abuse," his lawyers wrote. They said he settled with Penn State in 2013 and has kept his abuse a secret from those closest to him.

They alleged the abuse occurred when the man was a 14-year-old participant at a Penn State football camp but disclosed no other details.

Paterno, who died in 2012, said in an interview before his death that an assistant's report in 2001 of Sandusky attacking a boy in a team shower at the State College campus was the first he knew of such allegations against his longtime top assistant.

Sandusky, a former Penn State assistant football coach, was convicted of 45 counts of child sexual abuse and is serving a sentence of 30 to 60 years in prison. He maintains his innocence and is pursuing an appeal.

John Doe 150's lawyer, Slade McLaughlin, said in a phone interview Wednesday that his client was concerned about "nuts" harassing him over his role in the scandal, which has generated strong feelings.

"Some of these people are really over the top and some of these people are militant, and some of these people, in my mind, are terrorists," McLaughlin said.

The filing comes two days after Penn State asked the judge to reject a subpoena from the NCAA in the Paterno family lawsuit, seeking the man's name and the identity of a Sandusky accuser who made a confidential settlement with the school over claims he was abused as a boy by Sandusky in 1971.

Penn State said neither settlement agreement contains specifics about either man's claims.

In May, the judge in the insurance dispute being litigated in Philadelphia said in a written opinion that there was a claim that Paterno was informed by a boy in 1976 that Sandusky had abused him. The school subsequently also confirmed it had settled over a 1971 allegation.

The judge has since decided to disclose more information about the two claims, details that are expected to be made public in about three weeks.

The Paternos are suing the NCAA, saying it used a Penn State-commissioned report that harmed their commercial interests. Two former Penn State coaches, Jay Paterno and Bill Kenney, are also suing the NCAA, saying the report made it impossible for them to find comparable work.

Jerry Sandusky granted hearing in appeal of sex abuse conviction

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The Associated Press

Jerry Sandusky granted hearing in appeal of sex abuse conviction

HARRISBURG, Pa. — A judge on Thursday ordered hearings to let former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky develop more information as he tries to overturn his child molestation conviction.

Judge John Cleland said the three days of proceedings in August will address, in part, whether defense lawyers should have called Sandusky to testify and whether prosecutors improperly leaked information about the grand jury investigation.

The hearing also will delve into whether prosecutor Joe McGettigan lied during closing arguments at Sandusky's 2012 trial when he said he did not know the identity of a figure referred to as Victim 2.

"The question is what Mr. McGettigan believed to be true when he made the statement to the jury," Cleland said.

Sandusky, 72, is serving a 30- to 60-year sentence for 45 counts of child sexual abuse covering 10 victims.

Eight young men testified they had suffered abuse at Sandusky's hands. The two others were Victim 2, who assistant coach Mike McQueary testified he saw being abused by Sandusky in team shower in 2001, and a boy who was reportedly seen by a custodian with Sandusky in the locker room.

Also at issue on appeal are decisions by Sandusky's lawyers to let him do an television interview with NBC's Bob Costas soon after his arrest, to waive his preliminary hearing and to not use grand jury testimony by three Penn State administrators.

A spokesman for the attorney general's office said prosecutors feel strongly that Sandusky's appeal is meritless and they plan to challenge the claims vigorously. A message seeking comment from Sandusky's appellate lawyer, Al Lindsay, was not immediately returned.

Cumberland County prosecutor Dave Freed, speaking for the state district attorneys' association, said complicated cases sometimes generate multi-day post-conviction appeals hearings.

"This order seems to me very much in keeping with the way Judge Cleland conducts business, which is he lays out very clearly what he expects, how he expects the hearing to go, allows sufficient time for it and allows the parties to prepare so he can use court time efficiently," Freed said.

Sandusky previously lost direct appeals to the state's Supreme and Superior courts. He is now pursuing claims under the state's Post-Conviction Relief Act, which is confined to newly discovered evidence, constitutional violations and ineffective lawyering.

Brother of St. Joe's DeAndre' Bembry shot and killed in North Carolina

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AP

Brother of St. Joe's DeAndre' Bembry shot and killed in North Carolina

The brother of Saint Joseph's NBA prospect DeAndre' Bembry was shot and killed early Saturday morning in Charlotte, North Carolina, according to Philly.com.

According to Philly.com, Adrian Potts, 20, was gunned down outside an apartment building near the UNC-Charlotte campus and was one of four people shot. The others are expected to recover, and no arrests have been made.

St. Joe's head coach Phil Martelli told Philly.com on Sunday night he heard the shooting occurred over a cellphone, and Potts' mother, Essence Bembry, told Martelli that Potts was not involved in the dispute. Martelli spoke to both DeAndre' and Essence Bembry as they were flying to Charlotte on Sunday morning.

According to Martelli, DeAndre' is "awful, just awful."

In a text message to Philly.com, Essence said, "Adrian was a unique soul. He lost his life breaking up a fight. Always a peacemaker."