Manhattan College Signs One-Handed Center

Kevin Laue has overcome long odds to play Division I basketball

As a smaller program in the top division of NCAA basketball, Manhattan College is always going to have problems when it comes to recruiting. They need to take chances on players with risky backgrounds, limited talent or other flaws, but usually those players still look like most of the other guys playing on courts around the country. That's not the case with Kevin Laue.

Laue may stand 6'11" but it doesn't take long to notice that he's missing a left hand. Laue was born without a left arm below the elbow, which didn't stop him from playing basketball for Amador Valley High School in Pleasanton, Calif., or from averaging 10 points and five rebounds at Fork Union Military Academy in Virginia.

Fork Union is a prep school whose football program produced two Heisman Winners, and their basketball team has produced players like Shammond Williams and Chris Washburn. In other words, Laue wasn't compiling those solid numbers against second-rate competition, which makes his accomplishments all the more impressive.

That said, Manhattan coach Barry Rohrssen admitted to the Daily News that there was more at play than just basketball ability.

"Being a baseball fan, Jim Abbott left a great impression on me," Rohrssen said. "Some of the things he did inspired a lot of people with similar problems and just people as a whole. I think with a guy like Kevin, playing at Manhattan and being in New York City, presents an opportunity that can be rewarding for Kevin and also have a ripple effect for everyone involved."

Abbott, who threw a no-hitter for the Yankees, got a big stage to show people just how much an athlete could accomplish against long odds. Hopefully, Manhattan can put together a run to the tournament before Laue's time at the school is done so that the story can reach as big an audience as possible.

Josh Alper is a writer living in New York City and is a contributor to and in addition to his duties for

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