Sophomore Kanaan Kuartei: Basketball
Sophomore Kanaan Kuartei discovered basketball when he was 8 years old, and he has been playing it ever since.
Although Kuartei didn’t start out enjoying basketball, the sport grew on him over the years. “(Even though) my dad picked (basketball) for me, I did learn to like it,” he said. “I just put more energy and time into basketball and ended up being better at it.”
Committed to honing his craft to the best of his ability, Kuartei has spent countless hours practicing, shooting baskets and working on ball handling. Along with playing on the Gunn basketball team, Kuartei spends time outside of practice to work by himself. Commitment and consistency remain core values in his mindset as a player, as does team spirit. “Whenever I want to stop, (my) obligation to (my) teammates keeps me going,” he says.
Still, staying committed can be difficult at times, especially when physical injuries pose risks. Kuartei injured his knee while practicing and has not been able to play for over a month. Maintaining a healthy mindset around his relationship with basketball has been a struggle during this time. “(It’s hard) being forced at one time or another to take a break (from basketball), whether wanting to or not, and then just feeling like I’m never going to come back,” he said.
Trying to balance academic responsibilities with basketball practice is also a challenge. At times, Kuartei has considered dropping basketball to devote more of his attention to school in the coming years. “I’m taking a lot of APs next year, and focusing (more) on my instrument,” he says. “Balancing a ton of (responsibilities) will be pretty hard.”
Still, love for the sport is unquestionable. “I’m just a person who enjoys doing physical activities, and I’ve always had a lot of friends in the sport,” he said. “Playing the sport itself is (also) really fulfilling for me.”