‘A perfect storm’ brings Princeton’s Jimmy Starkey to St. Ambrose – Shaw Local


It seemed as if Jimmy Starkey had no luck during his sporting career.

He suffered a torn ACL and a torn meniscus in his left knee while playing quarterback for Princeton's sophomore football team as a freshman during the 2021 COVID spring season.

He made it back for his sophomore year of basketball and baseball and played as a reserve on the Princeton Tigers' Sweet 16 basketball team his senior year, only to tear the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee in the very first game of his final basketball season.

This injury not only knocked him out of basketball, where he was supposed to be a big player, but also cost him his final season of baseball. He is not yet cleared to play any sport this summer.

But not everything is hopeless for the ambitious, sporty teenager.

St. Ambrose University is offering the recent Princeton High School graduate the opportunity to revive his basketball career and play for the Bees next season.

It was a moment Starkey wasn't sure would ever happen.

“I was really scared that anyone would give me the opportunity to play since I have limited experience in high school. But St. Ambrose gave me the opportunity to compete and I'm really grateful for that,” he said. “I just want to play basketball. Play as much as I can. It's really what I love and this opportunity is definitely a gift from God.”

“It was pretty much the perfect storm. They have a good physical therapy program. I can do my entire undergrad there and go straight to graduate school, and they're giving me the opportunity to play. A perfect storm.”

Although his high school experience was limited, Starkey made up for it by playing for the Outwork Elite AAU team in Dixon starting in eighth grade. Their coaches, DJ Olalde and Josh Binder, helped him connect with St. Ambrose.

“They helped me get exposure to college coaches and put me in touch with (St. Ambrose) coach (Ray) Shovlain,” Starkey said. “I did that and contacted coach Shovlain. He liked what I was trying to do and I liked what he was trying to do. It all worked out in the end.”

Starkey hopes he can help make up for lost time and earn permission to play for the Princeton American Legion baseball team this summer.

Princeton's Jimmy Starkey shoots against St. Bede in the Colmone Classic on Saturday night.