Waudda Faried is on the rebound. She suffers from lupus and this summer, her son Kenneth was home in Newark, N.J., when the good news came. A donor kidney was suddenly available and Waudda would be the recipient of that life-saving transplant.
Waudda has been a strong influence on her son’s life in so many ways. He calls her, "a strong, intimidating woman.” She is positive with a dose of discipline.
“I love her to death,” Kenneth said.
‘Strong’ and ‘intimidating’ are also words that describe Morehead State's Kenneth Faried when it comes to pursuing rebounds on the court.
Faried credits both of his parents, Waudda and Kenneth Lewis for, “Showing me how to be the man I am today. How to make my own path, create my own destiny, pursue my own dreams. I dedicate every game to my parents. They taught me to be strong and not to accept defeat,” he said.
Early on, he learned a very valuable lesson from his mom when he once complained about not getting the ball enough, “If you want to score then go and get a rebound.”
Faried has followed his mother’s advice well and scored 20 points and snatched 18 rebounds in a 61-55 loss at Florida on Sunday. Faried said he felt, “ecstatic” about his stat line but disappointed in the loss. He backed up that performance 48 hours later with 15 points and 12 rebounds along with five steals and two blocks in a 64-45 loss at No. 3 Ohio State. And then at SIU-Edwardsville, the 6-foot-9, 228-pounder turned in a cool 25 points and 20 boards.
Look, Faried is the best rebounder in the college game today. Period. If you do not believe me, just ask Florida coach Billy Donovan.
"That's Dennis Rodman all over again," Donovan said. "If I was an NBA general manager I'd be taking him with my pick. That's what a next-level guy looks like. He just totally destroyed our frontcourt. ... That was definitely an incredible performance by a terrific player."
Faried remembers Rodman’s Chicago Bulls beating the Knicks in the playoffs as he watched on TV with his dad. He remembers Rodman’s hustle, toughness and grit. He identifies with those qualities and still admires how Rodman accepted his role to help the Bulls win championships. Upon recalling those memories, he smiled and said, “Me too.”
Morehead State has experienced unprecedented recent success with 24- and 20-win seasons and an OVC championship in 2009 under coach Donnie Tyndall, who signed Faried, a little known 6-7, 190=pound forward out of Newark, N.J. Marist was the only other NCAA D-I program to even offer Faried a scholarship.
He has averaged 13.0 rebounds per game over the past two-plus seasons and his numbers will probably go up this season as he will see more playing time. Faried is asthmatic, but recent nose surgery has relieved some of the symptoms. Tyndall wants more out of his star player, and he will get more.
“I want to be the best in the nation at rebounding.” Faried said with conviction.
Faried is a young man who cares more about others than himself. He smiles a lot, even during games, and lists Dwight Howard as his favorite NBA player. Faried says, “Dwight Howard is always smiling and having fun instead of acting like playing in the NBA is a job.”
Faried has a childlike passion for the game. He is a strong and relentless rebounder who does his job with a smile on his face. He is an All-American talent and soon-to-be NBA player. The next Dennis Rodman?
I wouldn’t bet against it.