RIO GRANDE, Ohio — The University of Rio Grande Men’s Basketball Team honored senior point guard Kevonta Black with the 2015-2016 Corey Taylor Heart and Hustle Award. Corey was a freshman from South Point, Ohio who had just finished his first semester at Rio when he was killed in a car accident Christmas Day, 2008. Head Basketball Coach, Ken French said the award goes to a member of the RedStorm team that reflects Corey’s attitude toward life and impact on those around them.
“We created this award because his loss had an impact on our program that year. The way he approached life and loved everybody reflected in the rest of the team that season,” French said. “Ever since then, we’ve given out this award because of his approach to basketball and how much he loved the game and being a part of our program here at Rio.”
Black a senior business management major from Nashville Tennessee, said he was excited to receive the award because he feels his time with the team has helped prepare him for life after graduation.
“I was really surprised. It’s a great honor to receive the award because it’s a big award that shows you are a leader in the game and to your teammates. I’m honored Coach French chose me for the award because it lets me know I have an impact on this team,” Black said. “Every time I step on the court, I try to be a leader because basketball has helped me so much in life off the court. You have to be able to learn and listen to succeed in life and I feel like this program has helped me become better at those skills and others that can help me be successful in the future.”
French said the Corey Taylor Heart and Hustle Award is presented to a student every year and he is glad he and the coaching staff can keep Corey’s memory alive through this award.
“It’s a very prestigious award within our program and it means a lot to me to be able to honor him and keep his family connected to our program. Corey made such an impact even being here only one semester,” French said. “As long as I’m head coach here, we’re always going to have this award and recognize someone every year in his memory.”
Black has been a part of the men’s basketball team for two years. He transferred to Rio after French recruited him as a point guard. He said after visiting campus, he was excited to join the RedStorm.
“Coach French recruited me to be a guard and coming here to check out the program was a great experience. I was excited to become part of the family and a great program.”
French said he is proud of the work and effort Black and the entire team put in, keeping Corey’s memory alive each basketball season.