Kenneth Faried, a native of Newark native, will be just around the corner in mid-town Manhattan for Thursdayâ€™s NBA Draft, where he is expected to be a first round draft pick. â€œThe area I grew up in was pretty bad, so it means so much more,â€ Faried told The Newark Star-Ledger. â€œI got a cousin and little brother and family who can say, â€˜Hey, Kenneth made it out. Why canâ€™t we?â€™ â€â€¦â€œI grew up around this area,â€ Faried said. â€œItâ€™s my home.â€
Faried played at tiny Morehead State in the Ohio Valley Conference, because his parents wanted to get him out of the hood and further into his education. And with this renewed ability to focus in the hills of eastern Kentucky, he went on to become the leading career rebounder in college basketballâ€™s modern era, eclipsing Tim Duncanâ€™s post-1973 record of 1673 career rebounds. But Tim Duncan is a seven-footer who has gone on to an All-Star NBA career. Kenneth is only six foot eight, 225 pounds. That is why Faried evokes so many comparisons to one of the most ferocious, yet undersized, rebounders in NBA history, the mercurial Dennis Rodman. Faried attributes his tenacity to growing up playing basketball in Newark, â€œIt was either wilt and cry, or just go out there and show them I can play. It made me tougher, because I wasnâ€™t backing down,â€ Faried said.
â€œHe wasnâ€™t going to stay in Newark. That wasnâ€™t going to happen,â€ Waudda said. â€œAnd it wasnâ€™t like I was trying to push him away or anything. It was just the way I felt. I told him thereâ€™s a better world out there and this ainâ€™t the only world.â€ He eventually ended up averaging 16 points and 13.5 rebounds over his final three seasons. He helped Morehead State upset Louisville in the first round of the 2011 NCAA tournament. But, most importantly to his parents, he graduated from college this spring.
But that doesnâ€™t mean that they are not excited about Kennethâ€™s draft prospects. â€œWe could jump on the bus and go downtown,â€ his mother Waudda told the Star-Ledger. â€œItâ€™s just really amazing that [the draft] is actually in Newark this year.â€ Right now Faried is projected to be taken inside of the draftâ€™s top 20 selections.