From tragedy to triumph: Peacocks star’s family recounts emotional ride to stardom
The St. Peter’s men’s basketball team’s run in the NCAA tournament has been one for the ages.
And for the family of one of the players, the triumph comes in the wake of a near-tragedy that puts all of the basketball court drama in perspective.
Most New Jersey sports fans are now familiar with the face and mustache of St. Peter’s Peacocks player Doug Edert. The Nutley resident has emerged as not only one of the stars of the team, but also a folk hero of sorts of the entire tournament. The sixth man off the bench on one of the most amazing underdog runs in history, making clutch fourth quarter shots and rocking the hair and mustache that have made him a Twitter phenom and the subject of late night talk show jokes.
“I gotta keep the mustache. Everyone get mustaches,” says Doug Edert.
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His father Bill Edert says the whole situation has been surreal.
“They proved the world wrong,” he says.
Dough’s ascent is only part of the dramatic emotional roller coaster the Nutley family has been on in the past few months. On Dec. 14, Doug’s older brother Nick – a Newark police officer – was shot while on plainclothes patrol in the city.
“That was a frightening call to get as a parent. It’s your worst nightmare,” says Bill Edert.
Doug was in the middle of an exam when he got the call. He and two of his St. Peter’s teammates headed to the trauma center at University Hospital in Newark.
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“We got to the trauma room just to make sure his big brother, who he looks up to, was OK. And thank God, he’s OK,” says Bill Edert.
Nick Edert, who has been promoted to detective, recovered and was released from the hospital to the cheers of his fellow officers. But it was a very close call. The bullet missed an artery in his leg by just a few inches. He says he is thankful to be able to spend the tail end of his recovery watching his brother and the rest of the Peacocks pull off the unthinkable.
“It’s incredible to watch and I’m happy that I’m here to watch it. I really am,” Nick Edert says.
Nick plans to return to the police beat soon. But until then, he is making sure he performs a big brother’s most important job – teasing his younger brother.
“It’s horrible. It’s a horrible mustache,” he says.
St. Peter’s plays Purdue in a Sweet 16 game on Friday in Philadelphia.