Beyond the game: Kendell Ramlal, sophomore forward

Assistant Sports Editor

Most kindergarten parents deal with issues of intellectual underdevelopment, but Cherrie and Keith Ramlal were different.

Their son, Kendell, now a sophomore forward for the Texas State men’s basketball team, was too smart.

“Kendell got bored very easily in school,” Cherrie said. “He only spent four months in kindergarten, and when we went back after Christmas break, they moved him up to the first grade.”

For Kendell, the learning never ended.

He completed three pages from five different workbooks to occupy himself during the summer. Otherwise he would get bored.

Kendell was the tallest in most of his classes, the youngest, and often the smartest.

“He has a mind that has to be always challenged,” Keith said. “Whatever he ventures to learn, he learned it so quickly that he had to move on to something newer, so we always had to find things to keep him occupied and keep challenging his mind.”

Kendell felt responsible for protecting the smaller students around him.

In fact, his parents thought he would go on to pursue a career as a veterinarian because he also expressed a protective attitude over his dog and rabbit.

Instead, Kendell found a different calling.

“His ultimate goal is to be a psychiatrist,” Cherrie said. “In high school, he took psychology, and that’s what peaked his interest.  He started learning about everything to do with that, and I also work in the psychiatric field as a nurse, and I would come home and discuss different cases—no names or anything—but what happened or what this person was going through.”

Kendall was described as protective, intellectual and reserved in high school. Nevertheless, he was a popular student—initially for playing basketball but eventually for his intellect.

“Kendell has always been the most popular guy in his classes,” Cherrie said, laughing at the idea of her son being an underdog. “As quiet as he is, they called him ‘the popular nerd’ since he’s so smart.”

Kendell was not aware everyone in his school knew of him.

“I would pick him up from school every day,” Keith said. “The middle school—they had pre-K to the eighth grade, and the little pre-k students would come out and say, ‘Kendell’s dad! Kendell’s right there! Kendell is right behind there!’”

Kendell said he gets his reserved and laid-back attitude from Keith and a determined, headstrong nature from Cherrie.

His parents believe their humble, intellectual and popular son is exactly who they raised him to be.

“We groomed him to be a leader,” Keith said. “He won’t be part me or part his mom or wholly his mom or wholly me. We’ve groomed him to be himself.”

Follow Mariah Medina on Twitter @Mariahmedinaaa.