A week ago I put out a list of Muslim basketball players to follow in the 2011 NCAA menâ€™s basketball tournament. Well, there was one glaring omission from that list: Morehead State Universityâ€™s Kenneth Faried. Faried somehow slipped through the cracks in my list, but he has slipped through in a number of other ways too. He started his life in the troubled neighborhoods of Newark, New Jersey, but thanks to his parents, especially his mother Waudda, Kenneth was able to eventually slip free of his surroundings to get away to the hills of Kentucky for college. There he honed his basketball game, and in particular learned to slip between players and rebound the basketball. He perfected this aspect of his game so much so that he eclipsed Tim Duncanâ€™s college basketball record in the modern era (post-1973) for total rebounds in a career. And Fariedâ€™s non-stop style of play and relentless rebounding has evoked comparisons to Dennis Rodman.
The culmination of Fariedâ€™s college career came last week, when Faried and little Morehead State slipped through the fingers of the prognosticators and shocked powerhouse Louisville University in the first round of the NCAA tournament. While Morehead Stateâ€™s run ended the very next round, it served to put Faried and company on the big stage. Now scouts are talking about the six foot seven inch power forward being a first round pick in this Juneâ€™s NBA draft. Now it looks like he just may be too big to slip through the cracks any further.