Position – Power Forward
Age – 21 yrs
Height – 6’-8”
Weight – 225 lbs
2011 Draft – #22 First Round
Kenneth Bernard Faried Lewis came to Moorehead State University in rural Kentucky as a lightly-recruited power forward/center. Kenneth’s relatively small size and lack of offensive skill (as well as his low profile at Newark, New Jersey’s Technology High School) made Faried an unknown commodity until his junior season at Moorehead State.
His consistent performance as a high-energy rebounder and defender turned Faried into a first-round NBA prospect seemingly overnight. He earned the nickname “Manimal” in college with a nonstop motor and constant on-court intensity. Rapid refinement of his game had Nuggets coach George Karl giving Faried major minutes by midseason of his rookie year.
The Denver Nuggets drafted Kenneth with their #22 overall draft pick on June 23rd, 2011 in his hometown of Newark while New York’s Madison Square Garden – the traditional location for the NBA Draft – underwent a lengthy renovation. The icedjamb.com mock draft had me correctly predicting the pick as the obvious best choice for the up-tempo Nuggets.
Before his break-out 2011 NCAA season, though, Faried’s life charted a strange course. His mother Waudda (Wa-dee-uh) suffered through lupus for much of his adolescence, but hid seven years of dialysis from her son to save him from worry as he developed his basketball skills. Faried’s grandmother, Ishana, died of complications from lupus while Waudda was pregnant with Kenneth.
When Waudda spent weeks in the hospital battling the same chronic inflammatory disease, her life partner Mashsin Copeland cared for Kenneth. Copeland, who Waudda describes as her wife through their 2007 civil union, has children of her own. And by 2010 Kenneth Faried had a child of his own – born to the woman he still calls his best friend, Rebecca McCarthy.
Faried’s now one year old daughter, Kyra, became an inspiration for Kenneth in life and in basketball.
On the court, Faried had the best year of his collegiate career and broke the modern NCAA rebounding record formerly held by San Antonio Spurs star Tim Duncan. He boasted strong stat lines in Moorehead State’s three biggest games of the season against ranked competition, capped off by a win in the first round of the NCAA Tournament over heavily-favored Louisville.
Off the court, Kenneth found comfort in his Muslim faith during a strenuous transition to adulthood, and he speaks often now of his comfort with the plan that God/Alah laid out for him. Faried also solidified a shaky relationship with his father, Kenneth Lewis, who joined Waudda and baby Kyra at Newark’s Prudential Center for the 2011 NBA Draft.