SHORT GAP - If you want to know what kind of person and player Frankfort's Jansen Knotts is, you need only look back to the last game he played in, the March 6 epic, double-overtime contest between Frankfort and Keyser. In what many recall as the best game they've ever seen, there was no bigger individual performance that night than that of Jansen Knotts.
By Chapin Jewell
SHORT GAP - If you want to know what kind of person and player Frankfort’s Jansen Knotts is, you need only look back to the last game he played in, the March 6 epic, double-overtime contest between Frankfort and Keyser. In what many recall as the best game they’ve ever seen, there was no bigger individual performance that night than that of Jansen Knotts.
The Falcons may have lost the game, but Knotts turned in an epic performance of his own, leading all scorers with 37 points, 25 of which came after halftime. Fans and coaches from both teams heaped praise upon Jansen for putting his team on his back and giving his all for the entire contest, sitting to rest for only about 40 seconds in the double-overtime marathon. The best players show up biggest in the biggest of games.
While that game may have been a loss, Knotts will long be lauded for his leadership and talent that helped lead the Falcons to two of the most successful seasons in Frankfort basketball history, including a memorable 20-4 campaign in this his senior year. After a tremendous high school career, Jansen Knotts has committed to continue his basketball and academic careers at Waynesburg University in Pennsylvania.
Waynesburg competes at the Division III level and in the President’s Athletic Conference along with Bethany College, Chatham University, Geneva College, Grove City College, Saint Vincent College, Thiel College, Washington and Jefferson College and Westminster College.
The Yellow Jackets just completed their season under the leadership of first-year coach Tim Fusina, a Charleroi, Pennsylvania, native with a wealth of head coaching experience, and perhaps more importantly, a track record of putting academics first in his programs.
“I was between Waynesburg and Shepherd but I decided to go with Waynesburg. There were a couple reasons why I picked Waynesburg. The main one was just that I felt cared about by the coaches. I felt they really wanted me and saw the talent that I have. The coaches are new to Waynesburg and are trying to turn the program around. I really want to be a part of that,” Knotts explains.
According to Knotts, “The school is very nice and they are remodeling many of the buildings including the athletic facilities. I’m going to go the Pre-Med route. I’m not for sure if it’s going to be Biology, Health Administration, or Nursing.”
Whatever the route, as Jansen has shown both on the court and in the classroom at Frankfort, he possesses all the ingredients needed for success at the next level.
“Jansen the person is an upstanding, conscientious and hard-working young man. He strives to do his best at everything he does. He is an excellent student in the classroom and a tremendous athlete on the court. His character exhibits him to be a great role model for his classmates and teammates,” Frankfort head basketball coach Scott Slider explains.
According to Slider, “As a player, Jansen is one of the top players I’ve had the opportunity to coach. He is very coachable, always has a positive attitude towards the game, and shows up daily ready to work to improve his game as well as lead his team to strive and give their best each day to be successful.”
“He is a phenomenal player. One possession we may have him posted up, the next he’s draining a three ball, the next he’s at the point starting the offense. He never complains about his role, and is always just willing to do what’s needed for the team’s success. As an individual, I have complete confidence that Jansen will be a very successful, productive, contributor to society in everything he strives to do,” Slider stated.
In his senior season leading the Falcons to a successful 20-4 record, Knotts averaged 16 points, eight rebounds and four assists per game. For his efforts, he earned all-Potomac Valley Conference honors and was named the conference Player of the Year. Jansen also earned second team West Virginia class AA all-state honors and most recently was selected to play in the prestigious North-South All-Star Basketball Classic.
The basketball court and classroom are not the only places Knotts has displayed successful character traits, work ethic and selfless leadership abilities. Just prior to his senior football season at Frankfort, Knotts was thrust unexpectedly into the role of quarterback, a new role he accepted and excelled in. Surrounded by other talent, Knotts did his part in leading the Falcons to a successful record of 9-3 as the Falcons advanced to the second-round of the state playoffs.
But basketball is the sport Knotts has excelled in the most, and his love and passion for the game developed at a young age.
According to Jansen, “I started playing basketball when I was five years old doing Coach Perkins’ camps at the YMCA. From that point on I loved having a ball in my hand. The summer before ninth grade is when I realized that I could play basketball at the next level and that was good for me because I had something else to strive for and work towards.”
As Knotts looks towards his collegiate basketball career at Waynesburg, he reflects back on what has been a successful and memorable career on the hardwood in Short Gap.
“Wow, there has been a lot of favorite moments, but some that stick out are my sophomore year against Keyser, I hit a game winning lay-up with a couple seconds left. Another memory is last year when we went to Charleston for the Little General Shootout, the whole experience was fun. And honestly this whole senior season is something that I’ll never forget.” Jansen stated.
Knotts is appreciative also that Frankfort High School has prepared him for the rigors of college academia. According to Knotts, “What stands out to me is that the teachers and administration all really care about you. They want you to have goals in mind and strive for them. They always are there for you to help you with that also.”
Jansen is grateful for all the academic and athletic support he’s received at Frankfort High School, “Coach Slider, Coach Whiteman, and really all the coaches throughout high school have been very, very supportive of me.”
There have been others. According to Knotts, “There’s so many it’s hard to name them all. I can’t forget about Casey Roberts who has trained me since middle school and really got me to the point where I could play college basketball.”
Most importantly, however, there has been the support of family.
“I’ve had a lot of supporters, but my mom, dad, mimi and pappy have been there in all phases and pushed me to be the best person I could be and I couldn’t thank them enough for that. The rest of my family has been there just as much,” Knotts explains.
Jansen Knotts has indeed received a tremendous amount of support, from his family, from his teachers and coaches at Frankfort, and Falcon Nation as a whole. But Knotts has made it easy, not just with the talent he’s displayed in leading his teams to successful seasons, but more importantly with how he’s conducted himself as a student-athlete with the utmost dedication and character.
Waynesburg University made the choice easy for Jansen because they showed genuine interest and enthusiasm, a strong desire to bring him aboard to help rebuild their program. They saw in Jansen everything we’ve come to learn about him, a student-athlete of high character, a strong work ethic and winning attitude.
Sure sounds like a win-win situation for both Waynesburg and Knotts.