The Gordon Lee senior signed with the Tennessee Temple Crusaders junior varsity basketball program on Thursday, after showing coaches what he could do at a recent tryout.
I went to try out to find some way to afford to get into college, Kennedy explained. God just opened up the door for me to come play with them.
Temple coach Kevin Templeton said he first met Kennedy at the tryout in April.
Hes comes so highly recommended by everyone at his church, Templeton said. Hes a great young man and he works really hard. He did well at the tryout so weve signed him to a JV scholarship and well see where it takes us from there.
The 6-foot-2 guard, who did not play basketball for the Trojans the last couple of years, said that he had a small case of the nerves at the tryout.
I was a little intimidated walking on the court not having picked up a basketball in a while, he explained. But it came right back, just not as fast. I know and understand why I took a break (from playing). God really blessed me and opened this door for me. Im just going to have to work twice as hard to catch up.
Templeton added that Kennedys lack off recent on-court experience wasnt much of a problem.
Obviously the more experience you have the better off youre going to be, he said. What we look for good kids that are good people and good athletes and Matthew meets all three. We think hes got the athletic ability to play at the next level.
Hes tough, scrappy player that plays both ends of the floor and hes good around the basket. There are some things well have to work with him on at next level, but were ready to work with him on that.
Kennedy is on Gordon Lees Fellowship of Christian Athletes Leadership Team and is an active member of the youth group at Shiloh Baptist Church.
He also said that accepted the call to preach in the past year.
Ive been really involved in that, he said. Its helped
me grow spiritually and mentally. I really wouldnt be where I am today without my church.