High School Football - FEBRUARY 22, 2014
Meet Kanya Bell
WR/DB/KR - KANYA BELL
CITYBALLER COLUMNIST JOSEPH GIBSON
LOS ANGELES, CA - Exuding confidence, and swagger, Kanya Bell appears to be a lion in the presence of kittens. A WR/DB/KR for the Diamond Bar Brahmas, Bell, 16, is in possession of all of the physical tools needed to be successful at his position(s). Standing at 6'0", he has a height advantage over most of his competition. Running a 4.5 in the 40-yard dash, his blazing speed defecates on that of his opponents. He's the full package.
As a product of Compton, CA, Bell was set up for failure. He grew up in an environment surrounded by drugs, gang banging, and massive levels of crime. "That's everyday, all day," he expressed. "I just keep my focus on what I need to do to not follow that road."
That sentiment escaped the mind of Bell's father, who was in and out of jail ever since he was 15 years old. He is currently serving a 35 to life sentence.
"I understand the situation. I'm not mad at him. That's still my dad, at the end of the day. However, I can look at him and know what not to do," Bell explained.
Kanya follow through with that thought process at a young age when he joined the Snoop Youth Football League, where he met current teammate, Cordell Broadus.
"He's a cool guy," he noted. "I've known him since the 6th grade. We've basically grown into young men together."
Bell also went on to explain the impact that the SYFL has had on his game. "The SYFL helped me to become more serious about the game. It's helped me to become more of a team player too. Coach Snoop has been like a father to me. There was a time where things were out of order at home. Coach Snoop took me in until things were stable enough for me to go back home."
After his trials, here we have a dynamic player, who models his game after no one. Here's a guy who strives to put his own fingerprints on the game. Yes, he's also able to be objective about his game." The greatest part of my game, is that I'm always going to give you a show. The main thing I want to work on, is my maturity as a man overall."
Ladies and gentlemen, this is Kanya Bell.
High School Football - FEBRUARY 17, 2014
QB - JAYRU CAMPBELL
CITYBALLER COLUMNIST JOSEPH GIBSON
DETROIT, MI - Quarterback assaults security officer. Quarterback loses scholarship for assaulting a security officer. These are just a couple of the headlines flooding the press, in regards to a once highly recruited Cass Tech quarterback.
In a perfect depiction of how one bad decision can change your life, 17-year old JayRu Campbell finds himself with his feet to the fire. Reports indicate that the star quarterback violently body slammed a security officer after a refusal to remove his hood. Campbell is being charged as an adult.
The alleged assault is the second incident in recent memory involving Campbell, who was suspended from school and for the first game of the 2014 season for punching an opponent after Cass Tech’s state semi-final loss to Novi Detroit Catholic Central last November .
At some point, Campbell has to realize that it's about more than football. As an African-American athlete, he will be viewed differently than his counterparts. His failures will be magnified, while his accomplishment may not charter the recognition that they deserve. When you're a black athlete, the simplest mishap will be the public's definition of you.
When Michael Vick was convicted of dogfighting charges, he was portrayed as the most hateful person in sports. Two years after being reinstated by the NFL, no one cared that he put together an MVP caliber season.
While this young man has to learn these things, and act accordingly, we have to be careful that we don't completely condemn and dismiss him. He is, however, still a kid. He's not a finished product. While he's being charged as an adult, he's still not finished growing up. He's going to make mistakes, just as we all do. This, is not to absolve him of his involvement in the situation, but it goes without saying that he deserves the opportunity to redeem himself. Let's be sure to give him that.