Basketball players

Little Rock basketball players win on and off the court

LR-Central has a history of winning championships. It’s no different for James Toney, Kwame and Annor Boateng, who excel on and off the pitch.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – This time of year is busy for the Little Rock Central High School basketball team.

All players give it their all every time they hit the ground, but three team members are also recognized for big wins off the pitch.

“These kids came here because they’re elite college students and that’s something they wanted to be a part of,” head basketball coach Brian Ross said.

When you take a look at the rafters of Central, you’ll see a history of winning championships.

“I went there, I was quite confident because I had done it before,” said central senior Kwame Boateng.

This time we’re not talking about a victory on the field or the banners that are in the rafters – we’re talking about a different kind of victory – this one was at the science fair.

Kwame, along with his brother Annor who is a sophomore, and freshman James Toney, all win championships through their schoolwork.

“My project was ‘Let’s get Bouncy,'” Toney said. “It was about basketball, I was trying to see what surface was the best to bounce a basketball on.”

The three swept the competition at the school science fair, with Kwame winning 1st place for building a firefighting robot – drawing on his own childhood experiences.

“My house caught fire and luckily no one was home,” he said. “But you know, I wanted to help the firefighters, and think of a way to help them.”

Annor won third place after creating an app to help students study for the ACT.

“It feels like with science you can do whatever you want,” he said. “There really is no limit to that.”

And Toney took second place for his study of basketball.

All three are student-athletes, and Coach Ross said they exemplify both parts of that title.

“Kids, they’re not just passionate about sports, they’re also passionate about other things in their lives, which is really the point here,” he said. “We want them to be versatile people, and these guys are great examples of that.”

Even as a sophomore, Annor agrees — he’s not just defined as a student, an athlete, or whatever sort of label people may try to assign him.

“I feel like anything is possible now, especially winning the science fair,” he said. “It shows our capabilities and what we can do, and basically gives us more confidence to keep going.”

These guys don’t let winning go to their heads either, hard work just embodies who they are – and they have a message for others too.

“If you’re working, you don’t have to worry about anything else,” Toney said. “Just know that you can trust your process and the work will eventually show.”