What comes to mind when you hear the words Compton, L.A.? I’m sure it’s not a very positive image. Court Crandall was inspired after watching his son play basketball with some of the Compton students. With a large racial and social divide, Crandall wanted to find a way to unite people. How could this be accomplished? A free throw shooting competition was going to be held in Compton to bring everyone together.
A pre-requisite for the free throw competition was a 3.00 or higher GPA. Crandall received 100 applications and 8 of the students were chosen, at random. The winner of the competition would receive a $40,000 scholarship and the runners-up would receive $1,000. Crandall’s “hope was that what started as a competition would become a collaboration with the kids supporting each other”. However, it became much more than that. At first, I struggled to see how a free throw competition could foster support of the participants. After watching the clip below, it was the fans supporting the shooters in such a positive way that made me understand.
The winner, Allan Guei, 18, was a point guard on the senior basketball team with a full scholarship to Cal-State Northridge. What Guei did with his winnings is even more incredible. After three months of winning the competition, Guei donated the money to his seven fellow participants. For Guei, he wanted his fellow classmates to have their academic dreams come true. “I’ve already been blessed so much and I know we’re living with a bad economy, so I know this money can really help my classmates”. Guei says, “it was the right decision.”
The goal of Crandall was to create a sense of community and support. I can bet that Crandall did not expect the unity to spread in the way it did. Cal-State Northridge has picked up an amazing basketball player. Better yet, they managed to find an even finer human-being. You give someone the opportunity and it’s amazing what they will do with it.