6-foot-10 big man Kalin Bennett has inspired the basketball world by becoming the first player with autism to receive a Division 1 sports scholarship. Bennett is moving from Little Rock, Arkansas to attend Kent State University and play college basketball.
Bennett talked to Cleveland.com about wanting to make an impact on and off the court to inspire kids with and without autism.
Early diagnosis on Bennett was that he would never walk or talk. He’s vehemently defied the odds of his initial diagnosis.
“He is really a phenomenal human being,’’ said Gina Campana, Kent State’s assistant director of the Autism Initiative for Research, Education and Outreach.
“A light emanates from this young man. We’re going to be lucky to get him at Kent State.’’
According to Campana, there are 30 registered students with autism at Kent, “but we believe there are up to 500 students, including grad students,’’ who have some form of autism and use the services provided by the university, she said. Among them is Campana’s son, who will graduate from Kent next spring and has a job waiting for him in Columbus, she said.
Size 20 feet
D-1 offer from Kent State
Dr.’s said: never speak/walk
Didn’t sit-up til 2yo
Didn’t walk til 4yo
Didn’t speak til 7yo
Held 1st conversation at 8yo
Plays 5 instruments@Ktech50: You are a true inspiration. We are rooting for you! pic.twitter.com/FUuAliB5ZZ
— Rick Strom (@RickStrom) November 27, 2018
Bennett currently is attending Link Year Prep in Branson, Missouri preparing himself to be more independent in college.
The next steps in Bennett’s spectacular journey will be fascinating to observe as he tackles yet another challenge, but what he’s been able to do already, frankly, should be inspiration enough for so many.