Kenley Farrow earns respect on and off the court

Anna Kleven, Staff Writer

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“I really liked basketball when I first started playing, and then I found out I could go to college for it,” said senior Kenley Farrow, who hopes to play at St. Olaf this fall. Farrow, captain of the varsity basketball team, has led the squad with skill and enthusiasm.

As the starting point guard, Farrow has been pivotal to the success of the team for two years. With a 14 point-per-game average, he was chosen by the Star Tribune as Player of The Week and is predicted to be Minneapolis Conference Player of the year.

Like a lot of urban basketball players, Farrow started at the park. His mother, Renee Farrow, pushed him to join the Longfellow team. “I worked on Kenley, made him play with his friends. He didn’t want to but I made him. He thanked me later on,” she explained in a telephone interview.

He began playing for Longfellow in second grade then started with Howard Pulley, a selective traveling league and the only Minnesota team in the Elite Youth Basketball League (EYBL) circuit. “The competition is hard…there’s a lot of really good guys,” said Kenley.

According to his mother, Farrow’s biggest challenge was “learning to be patient.” She said that “he always wants to learn something really fast and get it right away.”

Farrow spent a significant amount of time on the bench. She expressed pride in her son “for sticking with the game when there were times when he was not always the star. There were many times when he didn’t want to play. But he took a moment to recognize that he had to stick with it to…get to the good times, like this season.”

Though the season has been rewarding, new challenges have arisen. “This year’s schedule is more difficult than any schedule in the past,” commented Coach Joe Hyser. Section Six puts the team up against western suburbs like Hopkins, Edina, and Eden Prairie. Notably, the team maintained the best record in 15 years at 15-11.

The close loss to Southwest February 7 took a toll on team morale. “We’re better than them. We were just off our game,” said Farrow, who considered the game a lowpoint of the season. They redeemed themselves ten days later by beating Southwest.

As any high school athlete knows, the time sacrifice for sports is immense. Farrow described the “lack of flexibility” in his schedule, due to the challenge of juggling school, basketball, and his job at Longfellow Park.

Farrow’s mother said, “All of our weekends are spent running around to basketball tournaments.”

Though the commitment is demanding, Farrow is an invaluable attribute to the South team: “He was voted by [his teammates] to be captain. I would have chosen him myself, but I let them decide,” said Hyser.

Junior teammate Darius Clinton said that he appreciated Farrow’s “energy, his leadership.”

Farrow has natural leadership qualities: “I’m very vocal, so leading would be a strength [of mine],” he said. His exemplary work ethic, on and off the court, stood out to Coach Hyser even before he played on his team. “[Hyser] is kind of like a father figure since I’ve known him for five years,” said Farrow.

In January, Farrow and six others from all three South boys teams volunteered packing food to send to South Sudan. “What I’ll remember about Kenley is how he came and worked at Feed My Starving Children, and he just went and did a great job,” recalled Hyser.

Though his success could instill jealousy in other players, it has instead strengthened the team bond: “They have never acted in any selfish way toward him. They’ve never once complained that he shoots too much or that he’s the center of attention,” observed Hyser.

“Everyone thinks that I’m better, so when I play them one on one, they go harder, so…it pushes them,” said Farrow.

Farrow is waiting for acceptance from St. Olaf later this month. “We don’t know yet, but the coach has been telling everyone that he got in,” laughed Renee Farrow. “They really want him to play.”

St. Olaf is part of the MIAC, one of the strongest Division III athletic conferences in the nation.

Farrow looks forward to the challenge of college basketball. “The biggest thing that I’m excited for is to get better. I have a lot to learn, and the level of competition is going to be a lot better,” he said.

Farrow plans to continue his basketball career beyond college. His mother observed that his goals have become more realistic over time. “Sometimes he has a dream, and he needs to realize that it needs to be scaled back a bit. At first it was NBA, now maybe overseas or something. It’s still professional basketball.”

Still, she supports her son unconditionally. “He can do whatever he puts his mind to.”

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