BINGHAMTON, N.Y. - Every once and a while, you get a chance to meet someone who you walk away from and think, "Wow, what an incredible person".
That's the exact thought I had after speaking with my Athlete of the Week.
"I'm just a weird, fun, loving person. I don't know. I get along with everybody. I don't really know, I'm not very interesting," said senior guard Kaziah Ross.
When it comes to Binghamton High School senior Kaziah Ross, not interesting is the last thing anyone who knows her would describe her as.
Ross is a guard on the Patriots girl's basketball team, and scored a team-high 17 points in their upset win over #12 Elmira last week.
Whether she's on or off the court, she has her family's full, 100% support.
"We call it my entourage. They're always at the game. It's always my aunts, my uncles. They're at every game. Far away, hours away. They don't care. They want to be there to support me wherever I go...Family is just very important to me. They're just my number one supporters, and I don't know if I'd be here without them."
While Kaziah's entourage rolls deep, also including her mom and brother. But, there is one person missing.
Her father, Kershawn, passed away in 2005, when Kaziah was just 6 years old.
"It's just taken a big toll on me. Even though it hasn't been that long ago. Especially my senior year, I've been having Senior Nights, and just making these big steps in life, and him just not being there. It's really hard on me."
Given every reason to fall in the face of adversity, Kaziah has not only continued on, but she has excelled in everything she's done so far in life.
"She doesn't want to complain. She doesn't want to give you the illusion that she's going to give you any excuse of why she didn't make it. This is what I think is going to help her succeed. She preservers through whatever obstacle you give her. I just don't see anything stopping her," Coach Fann said.
As Binghamton head coach Willie Fann said, Ross has been dealt a tough hand.
But, through it all, she's made no excuses, and fought through to continue to take the next step in life.
One of those big steps for Kaziah is college.
"Academics is really a big thing for me. So, I've been looking into a lot of biomedical engineering schools."
If you're like me and had no idea what biomedical engineering is, let Kaziah break it down for you.
"I want to get into making prosthetics and artificial organs. I want to go into the medical field, but I'm not so good with the blood. So, I feel like this is the best thing I can do."
In the brief time I spent talking with Kaziah, I could tell she was a special person.
And coach Fann can atest to that as well.
"I really think she's going to excel at whatever she does just because she's determined. I mean, I talk with her mom all the time, she's always up late getting her homework done, no matter what. We have games late, she gets back home, she gets the work done if she couldn't get it on the bus ride up. So, I have nothing but high expectations for Kaziah."
Aside from her athletic and academic gifts, Kaziah is also a talented singer and artist, with coach Fann saying he's waiting on a portrait of himself for his birthday next month.