Kalin Bennett has autism and a Division 1 scholarship to Kent State

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Kalin Bennett

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.

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.

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Martin is the Founder, Chief Editor, and Head Skills Development Trainer for Basketball Society. Martin has work experience in digital media, radio, and journalism. He started a basketball blog and internet radio show in 2013 on Blog Talk Radio. Martin previously hosted the Knightcap show for WCTC 1450 AM covering the Rutgers Men's Basketball team. He has been featured as a writer on sites such as Def Pen, TV Film News, and All Hip-Hop. Martin played high school basketball at South Brunswick High School (NJ) where he graduated in 2007. He is a 1,000-point scorer at SBHS and an All-Middlesex County performer as a 3-year varsity starter. He helped lead SBHS to their first ever Central Jersey Group 4 sectional state championship in 2007. Martin played college basketball at Eastern University, where he graduated (BA) in 2012. Martin was a four-year starter and a 1,000-point scorer at EU and a 1st-Team All-MAC Conference performer. Follow Mart on Twitter @Marsoaries and on Instagram @martin_soaries

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