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Arkansas Teen Kalin Bennett First Autistic College Athlete to Land D1 Scholarship

2/22/2019 7:06 AM PST

Arkansas Teen Becomes First Autistic College Athlete to Land D1 Scholarship

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He was told he was never going to walk or talk ... and now he's going to be a D1 college basketball player.

18-year-old Kalin Bennett is the first autistic hoops player to land a Division 1 scholarship. He's a BEAST on and off the court, and his story is absolutely incredible.

The 6'10", 290-pound center just signed to play at Kent State next season -- and is opening up about how he overcame the odds to get there.

Kalin was non-verbal until he was 7 years old -- and was diagnosed as autistic. 

But, he loved basketball and refused to let his condition get in the way of his dreams -- joining his high school basketball team in Arkansas and balling out like a stud. MaxPreps named him the 12th best player in the state. 

He eventually enrolled at Link Year Prep junior college in Missouri where he's been playing so well, he caught the attention of Kent State, which formally offered him a basketball scholarship. Amazing! 

"I embrace who I am and I will decide my future," Bennett said in an incredible interview with Overtime.

It wasn't always easy for KB -- he suffered from separation anxiety during his time at Link Year, so his mom moved to Missouri to be closer to him. Hey, teamwork makes the dream work, right?!

"A lot of people have told me what I can't do ... when I get back in the house, my mom says 'if ever say 'can't', you won't be able to do it anyway.'"

"No one expected I'd be where I am today."

Check out the whole thing ... it's impossible to not be inspired by this kid.

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