Kaydine Bent might not have even started playing basketball if not for some discouraging words from a coach.
The Truman senior forward played netball, a popular sport in her native Jamaica. Netball is a derivative of basketball played mostly by women and it doesn’t include any running and jumping. Bent wasn’t a big fan of that aspect of it – she could never stay still.
“My coach insulted me in practice and said, ‘You can’t play,’” Bent said.
Netball’s loss turned out to be basketball’s gain. When she was 12 years old, the 6-foot Bent began playing hoops and she got good at it. Two years ago, she moved from the Caribbean to the United States and enrolled at Truman.
She averaged 11.1 points and 15.7 rebounds a game as a junior last season with the Mustangs. This year, she blew up, averaging 14.3 points and 16.9 rebounds for coach John Burke’s team. Netball is long in the rear-view mirror.
“I like this better,” Bent said. “I can hurt people – not like that, though. I can use my strength.”
She’s one of the best players in the Bronx and a top post player in the PSAL, but still doesn’t have as much interest from colleges as many think she should. That’s why Bent participated in the PSAL girls’ basketball showcase event Tuesday at Grand Street Campus in Brooklyn. She had the gym buzzing with her defense, rebounding and scoring ability inside. There weren’t many players stronger than her.
“She has big shoulders, but she’s nimble,” said one Division II assistant in attendance. “She runs the floor both ways and that’s what you always look for in a big kid. She looks to attack the rim, she’s strong and can finish with contact. She would definitely make an impact for somebody at a low Division I school. … She’s the most complete post kid I’ve seen here.”
Bent says she has interest from St. Peter’s, Manhattan and St. Francis. PSAL girls’ basketball assistant commissioner Shavon Glover, who coached her Tuesday, said she’s made incredible strides from just last season.
“That girl is like a 180 from what I saw last year,” Glover said. “She’s so physical and relentless. She’s awesome.”
What makes it more impressive is that Bent hasn’t played any AAU basketball. Bronx Science senior point guard Nishi Tavernier said she has played with Bent in tournaments and loves passing to her inside.
“She’s so strong – I wouldn’t want to get in her way,” Tavernier said with a laugh. “I just keep giving it to her, because I knew it would be an easy two points.”
Right now, Bent is focusing on getting her SAT score up to qualify. She said she’s going to take the test again in May. The transition from Jamaica to the United States was difficult, she said. Everything on her home island was open and spread out and everything in New York City is so cramped and condensed. She jokingly calls Truman “a prison.”
Bent has had tremendous success in this country in a short amount of time, though.
“It’s almost like she becomes an idol and she doesn’t even know it,” Glover said of young people trying to make due in America.