NORTH MANCHESTER, IND. – Senior men’s basketball student-athlete Kenny Doss, Jr., was among 25 individuals across all NCAA divisions and the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics recognized by the Athletes for a Better World initiative Wednesday, Jan. 17.
Doss, Jr., and the group were each semifinalists for the prestigious Wooden Cup award. It is presented annually to distinguished athletes from any sport – two high school, one intercollegiate, and one professional – that best display character, teamwork, and citizenship, the attributes Athletes for a Better World deem central to transforming individuals, sport, and society. The award establishes the recipients as athletes of excellence both on and off the field, role models both as performers and persons, the most important and distinctive honor athletes can achieve.
A native of Chicago, Ill., Doss, Jr. and his father, Kenny Doss, Sr., run Bridge The Gap, a not-for-profit that gets kids in his old neighborhood of Englewood off the street and puts basketballs in their hands. The idea is to provide both a safe haven and some structure, and it flows from an impulse to make a difference in his world that is in the best tradition of MU and its mission. It includes 60 to 70 kids and encompasses both a summer basketball tournament and one over Christmas. Some of the kids play; some show up either to watch or help out keeping the scorebook and picking up trash. The mission, Doss says, is to “stop the violence and change the culture of the neighborhood.” It’s about offering kids headed down the wrong path a way out, and helping kids who haven’t yet chosen a path find the right one.
Athletes for a Better World announced the same day that University of Pennsylvania fencing student-athlete Ashley Marcus; University of Redlands’ women’s soccer student-athlete Hannah Menk; The College of Wooster football student-athlete Patrick Mohorcic; and Marist College cross country student-athlete Steve Rizzo were selected as the four finalists for the collegiate honor.