Continued Growth for Jok

After an injury affected two years of his high school basketball career, Des Moines (IA) shooting forward Peter Jok is working with his way back on the AAU circuit.

MADISON - With three open evaluation periods for college coaches to come watch him play, 6-6 forward Peter Jok has a simple goal he's chasing after: prove to those that watch him that he can still play the game at a high level.

"I know I can compete," Jok told Badger Nation. "I've been building my strength for the last five weeks and have been playing a lot. I want to show people that I am still capable of playing."

Playing with the All-Iowa Attack, Jok hopes his performance over the weekend at the IM Ball Summer Showcase in Ames, IA, and the IM Ball Summer Slam in Minneapolis starts a new chapter while closing a frustrating one.

A native of Des Moines, Jok tore his patella tendon at the Nike Jamboree camp at the end of his freshman year; an injury that was originally diagnosed as tendinitis. When the pain persisted as he played with the undiagnosed injury his sophomore year, Jok had surgery last summer and missed most of his junior season.

He also made the mistake of trying to return too early from the injury, but said he was back to 100 percent at the end of spring and spent his first AAU tournament of July returning to the roots of his game.

"I am starting to get back to how I used to play," said Jok. "I am not all the way there yet. It's going to take awhile because I haven't played in over a year. I am working through it. I just need to work on playing faster, because I was playing at a pace of an injured person."

The three-star shooting forward is still getting back in shape, but says he's been receiving a lot of scholarship interest from Iowa, Kansas State and Wisconsin. Having visited the Badgers in December for Wisconsin's game against Marquette, Jok was watched last weekend by assistant coach Gary Close, who continues to maintain a good relationship with him.

"Coach Close has been with me throughout the whole process: before surgery, during surgery and after surgery," said Jok. "He knows what I've been through and he said that I look real good coming back. He's motivating me. We have a pretty good relationship. We talk about everything."

Jok is planning to visit Wisconsin again in August in order to see the campus and possibly play some pick-up games with members of the current team. He is looking to set up similar visits to Iowa and Kansas State.

"Iowa is rebuilding its program and it's close to home," said Jok. "I think I would be a good fit there. I like coach Bruce Weber at Kansas State. When he was at Illinois, he was another coach that was there before, during and after injury. I like him and I have a lot of family members down in Kansas, as well."

Jok and his teammates will head to Augusta, Ga., this weekend for the Nike Invitational.

"I just want to get my confidence back all the way," said Jok. "That's probably the biggest step I have to make."

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