A Kent State men’s basketball player made history Wednesday when he became the first player with autism to score a point in an NCAA Division 1 basketball game.
Kalin Bennett’s basket came with under three minutes left in the Golden Flash’s win over Hiram.
Bennett received the ball in the low post and backed-down his defender. He then went up for a left hook, drained the basket and got the foul. He finished the game with two points and two rebounds.
“This game was a lot of fun,” Bennett told FOX8 Cleveland after the game. “Being able to display all the hard work we put in from when we first got here to now. And for my mom to see it — it was really big for me to let her know that everything she did was not in vain.”
Bennett, a 6-foot-10 center from Arkansas, committed to Kent State last year, becoming the first player with autism to join a Division 1 school. He was the No. 16 prospect in the state.
“We knew we were going to recruit some size and watched Kalin play this summer and got to know him and his story,” Kent State head coach Rob Senderoff said in a news release at the time.
“We are really excited to bring him to Kent State. He has autism and to my knowledge, he will be the first Division I player with autism to sign an NLI. We’re very excited about the potential he has as a basketball player and he’s only scratching the surface. Kalin is a big, strong, physical player that has a soft touch. We look forward to watching his development over the next few years.”
Bennett told the Cleveland Plain-Dealer at the time he hoped to inspire other kids with autism.