CSU's Kennedy on a ride to the top - WCIV-TV | ABC News 4 - Charleston News, Sports, Weather

CSU's Kennedy on a ride to the top

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NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) – The Charleston Southern basketball team is one of the best shooting teams in the country, absolutely lethal from beyond the arc. One of the reasons is West Ashley grad Matt Kennedy.

But to appreciate his success now, you have to understand the trip to get there.

Kennedy appreciates where he is: happy to be home, thrilled to play the sport he loves, and elated to get to end it this way.

"Matt is shooting over 50 percent from the floor, 50 percent from three. He's a major part of what we're doing. He's a testament to young people trying to play college sports," said head coach Barclay Radebaugh.

Kennedy started all 15 games this season, he's averaging 30 minutes per game, and he's scoring in double figures.

"It's been a really nice change for me," he said. "I had to adjust mentally and physically."

The role hasn't been handed to Kennedy – he didn't walk into the Buc Dome entitled. Early on, to his own admission, he didn't deserve the success.

"Matt Kennedy has been one of the best stories in college basketball. I'm waiting for people to get hold of this story," said Radebaugh. "People forget, his sophomore year he did not score a single point. He scored zero points."

It's a season Kennedy would rather forget, but a place he learned a lot.

"Sophomore year is one I try to forget. It wasn't the best time. But I'm there for my team and I want to win every game. Playing high school basketball, everyone is the best player on their team and we play all the time. I came in shell-shocked," Kennedy said.

Riding the pine, most scholarship guys would have red-shirted, transferred, pouted or sulked, but Kennedy persevered.

I had one point last year and I said I'm going to do anything I can to get myself on the court," Kennedy said. "The first thing that came to my mind was defense. Defense wins championships, so I thought I'd play D and guard their best player, and do anything I can to get on the court."

The effort was quickly noticed by Radebaugh.

"He self-analyzed, looked in the mirror, and made changes to how he approached practice and games. He learned to play the right way and changed things and his attitude and has become a premier guard in our league," he said.

Much like Kennedy, the team started at the bottom, but now they're near the top. They – and Kennedy – won't stop until their pinnacle is achieved.

"For us, it's NCAA or bust," said Kennedy. "We had a great half of a season, but we're not even close to done. We plan on finishing strong. The first three years didn't go how I anticipated. I hope to finish strong and go out on a good note."

The view from the top is even sweeter when you're in Matt Kennedy's shoes. 

  • Scott Eisberg

    Email: seisberg@abcnews4.com Reporter Profile

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