Who is Lamarr Kimble?
Lamarr is smart.
Lamarr is humble, yet confident.
Lamarr is funny.
Lamarr is relaxed.
But Lamarr also described himself in one quote.
“Wake up, eat, sleep, everything basketball.”
Lamarr “Fresh” Kimble is neither your typical high school basketball player nor teenager. Not only did he win three PIAA Class 3A basketball championship titles, but he has also enrolled at Saint Joseph’s University for this upcoming fall semester under a basketball scholarship. However, this isn’t a surprise to anyone. He is way beyond his years on and off the court.
“It started when I was in middle school, excelling over other kids," Lamarr told the Empire. "But I still had doubts in high school. I didn’t get my first offer until the end of my 10th grade summer.”
Ss. Neumann and Goretti High School was where Kimble really began to find his way as a basketball player. He initially chose the Saints because of their winning basketball program, history of getting kids into college, and his relationship with head basketball coach Carl Arrigale. And boy did it pay off.
He scored 1,166 points, tallied 3 state championships, and won more than 100 games in his high school career.
Part of this was due to his opportunity to play against the best competition in the country, some of them on his own team. Ja'Quan Newton, who currently attends the University of Miami, especially was a huge mentor for young Lamarr.
“I saw how hard he worked and knew what it took,” says Lamarr. “Playing against him [in practice] made me better, as I made him better too. That was my inspiration throughout high school.”
Lamarr is also inspired by his parents because of how hard they work to help him succeed in life. Without them, Lamarr might not be where he is today.
“Fresh has good foundation and gets the support from Mom and Dad,” says Kahlil Williams, an eighth grade coach for Team Final, Kimble’s AAU organization. “They give him a lot of support. That’s needed when you’re on such an intense schedule. He also maintains a good GPA and he is a phenomenal basketball player.”
Lamarr used the skills he learned from Newton and the assistance from his parents to excel on the court. His high I.Q., ability to knock down open jump shots, get teammates involved, and do all of the little things helped Neumann and Goretti win, even when they were doubted.
The 2014-15 season was supposed to be a down year for the Saints. Lamarr was the only returning starter from the previous years championship winning team. However, as one of two seniors on the team, he helped lead the Saints to a 29-2 record and proved everyone wrong.
“My heart, I have a big heart,” Lamarr acknowledges. “I’m not the fastest or the tallest. I have a heart, desire and a fire to win.”
Coach Williams, who is also the Dean of Students at Universal Charter School and attends many Neumann and Goretti games, describes Fresh as a team player.
“Going into senior year, he was looked at as the best player and he took the back seat to let the younger players get more involved,” says Williams. “[He] took less of a role so they could fit in [and] feel more apart of the team.”
Williams went as far as saying Lamarr could have averaged 25 points per game as a senior instead of the 13 that he did.
And oddly enough, among the three state championships that Kimble won, his most satisfying victory was senior year.
Also while in high school, Lamarr played AAU basketball on Team Final with Levan “Shizz” Alston and Trey Lowe, who both will be attending Temple this fall.
“It was fun to play with them. Levan [Alston] and Trey Lowe were both key parts. They both can shoot the ball and they’re not just basketball players, they are cool people to be around.”
Levan and Lamarr have been playing basketball together since they were 12 years old, which has led to a good bond between the two.
Furthermore, his high school and AAU success brought along many college opportunities, from schools as big as Syracuse. However, he turned them down, opting to stay home and play at Saint Joseph’s University.
“I think that he made the right choice by going to St. Joe’s University,” adds Williams. “He gets to play in the Big Five and bring that tradition back of Big Five basketball with high level players. When you play at a mid-major [school] instead of going to a high-major [school], you have a chance to make your mark. I think [Lamarr’s] skill is there, I think his work ethic is there, and I think they’re looking for him to come right in and start next year at St. Joe’s.”
But Lamarr won’t take anything for granted. He plans on improving all facets of his game this summer such as getting stronger, lighter, faster and more explosive. He wants to work on shooting, ball handling and passing as well.
Furthermore, college can also be a gigantic and daunting transition for some people on and off the court. However, Lamarr is luckily in good hands.
With workouts already in session, he has had the chance to get used to college basketball and bond with new teammates.
Coaches are not allowed to practice with the team so it’s open gym days, playing five-on-five, but at a high pace -- or college pace.
“Everything goes back and forth. It’s no stopping, everybody can play on the court,” Lamarr adds about the workouts. “Sometimes in high school you may have three players on the team that can play and there are two people just out there. [The workouts are] challenging and difficult but I’m adjusting real well. I’m comfortable after a few weeks.”
In addition, don’t expect Lamarr to encounter the dangerous lures of college. He doesn’t like going out. He just likes to hangout with friends and listen to music in his free time, among other things. For the Philly bred guard, the transition won’t be too rocky.
Someone else who will help Lamarr convert to college is head men’s basketball coach Phil Martelli.
“He loved my game and I loved everything he stood for. He tries to help us be the best, not just as basketball players, but as men.”
Plus, Lamarr wants to help the Hawks get back to their winning ways after finishing last season 13-18.
“I’m looking forward to contribute as much as I can, in terms of us just winning,” says Lamarr. “It might have to be a scoring role or going out there and having an assist role or trying to guard the best player on the other team.”
Lamarr’s future plans include playing in the NBA or overseas.
“That’s definitely what I work for and what my dreams are. I’m going to keep trying to pursue it.”
“I look to see good things from him in the future,” says Williams.
Lamarr will definitely look to bring a successful basketball career to Saint Joseph’s. He will always work hard, make Mom and Dad proud, and take all of the skills he learned at Neumann and Goretti -- on and off the court-- to the Main Line. But more importantly to Hawk fans, Lamarr “Fresh” Kimble will try to bring that winning culture back to Saint Joseph's over the next four years.
Saint Joseph’s is pretty dang lucky.
Picture courtesy of MaxPreps.com
-LaMarr "Fresh" Kimble ruled out for the season with injury to his left foot.