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2018 Niagara Athletics Hall of Fame Inductee Profile: Jessica Kemp


NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. -- Jessica Kemp, a 5-foot-10 guard from Niagara Falls, Ontario, was an integral part of the Niagara University women's basketball team from 2000-04.

As a freshman during the 2000-01 season, Kemp was third on the team in points per game (8.0), rebounds per game (4.2), and assists per game (2.1), as well as placing second in steals per game (1.9).

She led the 2001-02 Purple Eagles in scoring, averaging 11.4 points per game, in rebounds per game (5.8), and in steals per game (2.4) while starting in 27 out of 28 games. In the summer of 2002 between her sophomore and junior seasons, she was invited to the Canadian Olympic Basketball team training camp.  

Kemp started in all 29 games during the 2002-03 season, helping the Purple Eagles to a 20-9 record for the program's only 20-win season as an NCAA Division I program. She led the team in rebounds, averaging 5.5 per contest, and she was second on the team in points per game (11.4), steals per game (1.9) and blocks per game (0.3).

She finished the regular season ranked 10th in the MAAC in steals per game, 3-point field goal percentage (.325) and in 3-pointers per game (1.38). She averaged 15.5 points, 7.0 rebounds, and 1.5 assists in two games in the 2003 MAAC Tournament as Niagara advanced to the semifinals.

During her senior campaign, Kemp became the 17th Purple Eagle in Niagara University women's basketball history to surpass the 1,000 career point mark. She led the team with a career-high 6.7 rebounds per game and averaged a career-best 2.5 steals per game.  She was awarded the Best Defensive Award and the Coaches Award at the team's awards banquet.

At the conclusion of her four-year career, Kemp ranked first in career games played (113), third in steals (244), fourth in 3-point field goal attempts (385), fifth in 3-pointers made (110), sixth in rebounds (628), eighth in field goal attempts (1,118) and 12th in scoring (1,157 points).

She currently ranks in the top-10 in five career categories – steals (fourth), games played (sixth), rebounds (ninth), field goal attempts (10th) and 3-point field goal attempts (10th).
Kemp's 1,157 career points rank 16th in program history. 

A three-time MAAC All-Academic member, Kemp graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Commerce in 2003 and earned an MBA in 2004.

After college, Kemp played two years of professional basketball in the Netherlands and in England.

In 2009, she began working in the family business of financial services. In 2011, she founded Kemp Financial Group, Inc. and currently serves as president.
PE.com: Why did you decide to attend Niagara University?
Jessica Kemp: I was offered a full basketball scholarship and when I visited the campus, I liked that it was small and intimate.  I also really liked my coach (Bill Agronin) and the values that both he and the University have.
PE.com: How did you end up choosing to play your sport? Does the game itself have a special significance to you?
JK: I played both softball and basketball growing up.  Basketball was just the sport that created the most opportunities for me, so I chose to pursue it at the varsity level.
PE.com: What moment or moments from your time as a student-athlete do you look back upon with the most fondness?
JK: I loved the student-athlete life.  It was great being a "somebody" on campus.  I had amazing teammates and friends both on and off the court.  All of those girls made my experience what it was. 
PE.com: How have your experiences as a student-athlete aided you in your professional career?
JK: Having being a student-athlete at an NCAA Division I school has made my business what it is today.  It has taught me self-motivation, to remain humble, competitive, and to take all the "loses" as a way to become a better person and learn from my mistakes.  It also taught me, and most importantly, that attitude is everything in all aspects in life. If you have a bad attitude, you will not succeed. 
PE.com: What is the most important lesson you learned as a student-athlete?
JK: The one thing that always stayed with me after my experience at NU, and being a student athlete, is that it is easy to make excuses and to give up when things are tough.  This is one lesson that now applies to my business and personal life.  Do not make excuses. Just know what needs to be done, and just get it done. 
PE.com: Did you have a memorable coach, teacher, advisor, mentor, etc.? What important lessons did she/he impart?
JK: Coach (Bill) Agronin is probably the person who has had the most impact on my life and career as an athlete and a person.  Everything mentioned above, is a testimony to him. He had the confidence in recruiting me for his team, and kept me strong and motivated throughout the four years at NU. 
PE.com: What have your friendships/relationships with your teammates meant to you through the years?
JK: Being a part of a team is something that not everyone gets to experience.  The feeling of having 12 other girls on your side, both on and off the court, is a special thing.  Even almost 20 years out, I still feel the same way about them. 

(The 2018 Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony will be held on Saturday, November 3 at 5 p.m. in the Russel J. Salvatore Dining Commons on the campus of Niagara University.)

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