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Kent State Basketball player with autism makes history

Posted at 11:05 PM, Nov 06, 2019
and last updated 2019-11-07 10:48:06-05

KENT, Ohio — The crowd went nuts, the cheers were loud and the team is up by what might as well be a million points.

But Wednesday’s game was not about any of that, it was about history in the making.

"I’m just one person,” said Kalin Bennett.

The humble powerhouse is a freshmen on Kent State’s basketball team.

"It’s good to know that people look up to me, but the real thing is everybody is capable of doing whatever they want to do in life,” said Bennett.

Bennett is the first ever person with autism to sign on with a Division 1 sports program and he’s the first to ever suit up and score a college basket.

"A lot of kids dream of getting their first college bucket so for it to go in for me I was really happy,” he said.

Although right now he’s working on getting better and earning more minutes, he realizes his success is so important to so many people.

"From now on everything I do, everything step I take, i have to make sure its with order and its with resolve,” said Bennett.

There’s one person who wants to make sure all of his dreams come true, Bennett's mom, Sonja Bennett.

"He never doubted himself. He knew he was going to do it and so all I had to do was support the dream,” said Bennett.

She’s committed to his success both on and off the court. She moved all the way to Kent to support him. She lives in town, while he stays in the dorms.

"My son told me that I was going, he said I can’t do this without you and so if he’s calls I’m coming that’s just it,” she said.

Bennett says she’s so grateful for all the doors basketball opened for him.

"Basketball gave him the tools to be social, basketball gave him friends when he was alone, basketball gave him the skills to know that he could do anything he wants to. As he says with this little orange ball, it can take me wherever I want to go,” said Bennett.

Kalin Bennett is hoping it does the same for many more.

"Hopefully I create a thing where its going to transcend to more kids that they believe in themselves first and foremost,” he said.