The other day, I was sitting at my son’s soccer training reading his Sports Illustrated magazine (November 14th edition). This was the college basketball preview edition. I’ve never been a big fan of basketball even though I tried to become one when the Raptors came to town a number of years ago. NBA players who go on strike is amusing news to me.
However, while I was thumbing through the magazine, an article caught my eye: “Dewayne Dedmon’s Leap of Faith”. Dewayne was 18 years old when he first picked up a basketball. He wasn’t allowed to play the game for various reasons, but one day in April 2008 he was sitting in the gym at Antelope Valley College in California and he said to the coach, Dieter Horton, that he wanted to play basketball. He was 6’8” so the coach invited him back the following week for a tryout. These requests from young teenage boys had happened often to the coach over the years, but only 1 in 10 kids ever came back for the tryout. Dewayne, however, did show up.
In short, he didn’t know how to do anything on the basketball court. In the words of the author of the piece, Chris Ballard: “In one sense Dedmon was a coach’s nightmare; in another he was a coach’s dream. He had no bad habits to correct, because he had no habits. He was a blank slate.” Is it easier to establish a habit when a person is young or is it easier to break a bad habit and establish a new one in its place? A fundamental question we have asked at KCS over the years. In most cases, the early years of a child’s life is the best possible time to begin to establish and reinforce positive habits. We do it daily here.
Dedmon’s story is certainly unique in many ways. You might want to look for the article and get the whole story. He is now playing at USC and is projected to be a top NBA pick in an upcoming draft – whenever that might be. Dewayne is preparing for that next challenge in his life equipped with a foundation of good habits; just as our soon-to-be grade 8 graduates are preparing for high school.
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