At 10, Kevin lost
his father to melanoma. Jodi remarried, to Jim Jarnagin, making Kevin the
youngest child in a Brady Bunch family with five siblings, all of whom can tell
you that only two things have stymied their baby brother: guitars and monkey
"It seems a
little unfair," Kevin says, "but I'm happy with what God gave
God is still
giving, to judge by the boy's growth plate. By seventh grade, when Kevin was
cut from the school team and turned to AAU ball, his feet were growing two
sizes a year. (He now wears a size 17.) In eighth grade he was palming the ball
and dunking. His oversized right hand, which looks as big as a novelty foam
finger, is known around town as the Mitt. With it he catches passes, makes
steals and gathers rebounds. "It's like a lacrosse stick," says
teammate Nick Johansen.
None of which
Collins knew when he left Richmond ( Calif.) High—the school featured in Coach
Carter—to take the job at Amador Valley. "At Richmond we had one guy going
to Indiana, one to USF," says Collins. "In my first meeting at Amador,
I find out we have a kid with one arm."
Then he heard the
stories: In one jayvee game last year Kevin had 20 blocks. In another he
intercepted a pass, dribbled the length of the floor and dunked. He scored the
winning basket with less than a second left against archrival Foothill High.
"A lot of people think it would be unfair if he had two arms," says
This year, as a
varsity starter, Kevin blocked the first five shots in a game against
Livermore. He leads the strong East Bay Athletic League with seven rejections a
game. No one escapes the Long Arm of the Laue.
He runs the floor
like a gazelle. "He shoots free throws like he's pitching dimes into plates
at the fair," says Collins. Kevin is averaging four points and five
rebounds while playing 23 minutes a game. But he's only 16, with a soft hook, a
10-foot jump shot and another inch and a half to grow. "Can he play D-II or
D-III?" says Collins. "Absolutely."
What's more, Kevin
has a 3.5 GPA—and a course load that includes algebra and ceramics, in which he
works the potter's wheel like Demi Moore in Ghost. Teammates marvel when Kevin
buttons his shirt. His shoe-tying is performance art. He cuts meat like a
thing that really bothers me," he says, "is that I won't have a left
hand [for a wedding ring] when I get married."
And that's all.
There's only one thing you can do for Kevin Laue that he can't do for himself: