ERIN KENNEDY…MAKES HER DREAMS COME TRUE!

Pratt

Basketball should be a vehicle to other things in a young person’s life. It must be an experience along the way. Basketball can give a kid a chance to fulfill dreams, and that is why the journey for Erin Kennedy has been special. It’s a story about sacrifices and change, it’s a story about giving up something important to gain something that matters…HAPPINESS.

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Erin Kennedy has been around basketball her entire life. It is what her grandparents and father have done their entire lives. She knows her father is maybe the most important man in grass roots basketball. Nobody has more access to coaches and players than her father ROB KENNEDY, the president of Hoop Group. It would be very hard to name a NBA player that has not crossed paths with Rob Kennedy at some point. Her older brother Rob plays at Merchant Marine Academy, her young brother Liam plays at CBA . But Erin learned something a long time ago, when it comes to basketball, her father keeps at arm’s length. He would not make it easy for Erin, he would not pull strings for Erin. Erin Kennedy was going to have to reach her goals on her own two feet and walk though the front door. There would be no special phone calls or phony hype. This is more the reason why what Erin Kennedy is doing is special.

Erin Kennedy did not attend a powerhouse high school like SJV or RBC. She attended Ranney High School, a place not known as a basketball power. It’s known as a school where basketball is an activity, not a way  to get a free education. But Erin Kennedy helped Ranney High School become a little something different over her years. Ranney won more games that they could ever imagine during her time. They made the Shore Conference tournament and made it to the states. Erin was a big reason why and it had nothing to do with talent and more to do with leadership. Erin Kennedy asked me to train her Ranney team I was a little surprised. I felt the Ranney kids really didn’t take basketball seriously until the season started. When I got to Ranney, I found out that I was right, except for one thing. Erin Kennedy took basketball very serious. She had no interest in just lacing up the sneakers and letting the chips fall where they may. She wanted her team to try their best.  She pushed her teammates and got upset when they didn’t work hard. It was a very interesting dynamic. Here was this young lady getting on teammates and asking them to do things maybe they had not planned on doing when they joined the basketball team. Erin Kennedy was a leader.

 

But remember I said basketball should be a vehicle to more important things in life. In the case of Erin Kennedy that’s exactly what it has become. Erin is a talented artist, she has a gift that is rare. She also has a passion for art. It’s why from day one, she knew art to be her major in college. Now let me tell you something, not many schools with great art schools are playing basketball. More importantly not many kids playing basketball are looking for art to be their major. But Erin Kennedy is not one who follows along. She wanted to attend an art school and play basketball in college. The problem with art school is that they really don’t care how good your jumper is unless you can draw. Well Erin can make a jumper and draw.

Now let me tell you what real courage is people. It’s when you give up something you know will lead a legacy for your parents, siblings, peers and maybe children to marvel at. Courage is taking on the unknown, courage is saying goodbye to people you love. Courage is when you’re the best player on your team and have a chance to score a 1000 point in your career and decide NOT TO PLAY.  You decide to switch high  schools and prepare to attend one of the best art schools in the country.

 

When it was clear Erin needed to leave Ranney to prepare for Pratt tough admissions. She chose the Voyagers school. The school provided her with a chance to prepare a portfolio that was killer. Voyagers gave her the needed support to hit a home run. But she also needed to work on her game if she wanted to play basketball at Pratt. So she did both, she got in the gym when she could and she worked on her portfolio. Erin found the best of both worlds and also found happiness… but nothing comes without a struggle folks and Erin’s journey was no walk in the park. Because around this time Erin Kennedy also had major surgery which took her off the court. It also took time away from working on her art. It was a time when many kids would have packed it in and said let the chips fall where they may. But Erin is no ordinary kid.

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It was Erin that got her portfolio done and hit a home run. It was Erin that went to watch the Pratt basketball team play. It was she that made the coach understand she wanted to be part of his program. Erin Kennedy used basketball and art to make her dreams come true. She was accepted into PRATT INSTITUTE.  She did the hard work by overcoming obstacles and proving that staying on the right path can never be wrong. She also proved if you want something, you must be willing to give something up. Leaving Ranney could not have been fun, leaving friends and the basketball records behind could not have been easy. Her high school Coach Tom Moriau was her biggest supporter, leaving him had to break not only his heat, but her heart as well.  Spending time in the summer in school without any assurance to be accepted into Pratt had to be scary.  Erin Kennedy had to be tough….but  tough times don’t last, but tough people do.  This is why Erin is fulfilling her dreams. She has been tough every step of the way….this is why she has been ACCEPTED TO ONE OF THE BEST ART SCHOOLS IN AMERICA…PRATT INSTITUTE!  By the way she also received a scholarship and not because of her jump shot….ERIN RECEIVED THE  Presidential Merit-Based Scholarship!

 

Now Erin will try and help Pratt become a quality basketball program. It’s not U-Conn; She knows it’s a team that has a lot of work ahead of them. But the program has been moving in the right direction. They made the conference playoffs for the first time last year. They have a young energetic young head coach in Michael Williams. She hopes to be another piece of building something special. She knows what it’s like to start at the bottom and hopes this experience will help her. Maybe those same leadership qualities she has learned along the way will help her at Pratt. For now me and Erin will get ready for the AAU season. I coach Erin’s AAU team and I can tell you, it’s most enjoyable coaching her team, because we play hard and keep it all in perspective…..Just the way ERIN DID ON HER JOURNEY TO PRATT INSTITUTE….CONGRATS TO ERIN KENNEDY…GOOD KIDS STILL HAVE A PLACE IN OUR GAME!

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