A Los Angeles high school student and star basketball player stunned a crowd of onlookers when he beat out seven other students in a free throw contest to score $40,000 in prize money for his college education. The star forward gained even more fans when he finally announced what he planned to do with the money-give it all away.
Compton High School student Allan Guei, 18, won the contest in March but waited three months to make the big announcement at his high school graduation. He announced that day to another stunned crowd that he would be giving the money to those seven other students who had lost the competition.
It turns out Guei had received a full basketball scholarship from Cal State Northridge. NCAA rules would have allowed him to keep most of the money without forfeiting the scholarship, but he figured his schoolmates could make much better use of the funds.
"I've already been blessed so much and I know we're living with a bad economy, so I know this money can really help my classmates," Guei said in a statement issued by his school. "It was the right decision."
No doubt his classmates, elated to be sharing the $40,000 prize, agree that Guei did the right thing.
The seven finalists from the competition were told they would be receiving $1,000 for their efforts, but now can expect about $5,000 extra thanks to Guei's generosity.
Donald Dotson, one of those seven finalists, will also be attending Cal State Northridge. He said in a statement about his future college mate, "He's going to go really far in life. Because of what he's done for us, God will bless him. That's what life is all about; stepping forward to help other people.”
The free throw contest was organized by Court Crandall, an author, advertising executive, and screenwriter, who came up with the idea while watching his own teen son play basketball with Compton students.
Crandall, who is also working on a documentary about the competition, says he wanted to give the kids in Compton a chance to succeed and to also break down stereotypes about their community.
"My hope was that what started as a competition would become a collaboration with the kids supporting each other," Crandall told the Los Angeles Times. "They did, but in the end they did that to a much greater extent than I ever could have anticipated.”
Out of the 80 or so seniors at Compton High School with a 3.0 GPA or better, eight students were randomly selected to take part in the competition. Guei, of course, managed to rise above the competition but made sure everyone walked away from the court a winner.