Kalin Bennett Becomes First Player With Autism To Get D1 Basketball Scholarship

A true feel good story has emerged from Kent State University, a story of a boy who fought the odds, stereotypes, and persevered to reach his ultimate goal.

Kent State is becoming the first school in NCAA history to sign a player with autism to compete in a Division 1 sport. Kalin Bennett isn’t just aiming to play basketball when he arrives on campus next summer, he wants to inspire kids with autism everywhere to follow their dreams — no matter what according to SBNation.

Bennett will be moving from Little Rock, Arkansas with his mom and the 6’10 center told Cleveland.com what he wants to do on, and off the court.

“I want to make an impact not just on the court, but with kids that are struggling with the same things I am,’’ Bennett said. “I want to use this platform to inspire other kids with autism and non-autism. I want to let them know, hey, if I can do this, you can do it, too. A lot of times they feel alone and by themselves, and I felt that same way growing up.’’


Kent State was Bennett choice largely because of the school’s commitment to autism awareness, however he was recruited by several schools.

To explain his point of view on the overall impact of saying someone “can’t” do something  Bennett spoke to the therapist who gave him the initial diagnosis saying he might never walk or talk.

“So, when he read it, and then met the therapist, he said; ‘Are you the one who said I would never do this and never do that?’ She said, ‘Yes Kalin, I am.’ He said, ‘My question is, I hope you haven’t told anybody else that because you could ruin their lives.’ She sat right there and took it from Kalin. She did.”

Kent State called Bennett a “phenomenal human being,” and are excited a what he can bring to the team and campus next year.

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