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Homeless teen gets a spot in college with his basketball skills

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A teen who was homeless for most of his high school years began his freshman year at Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee, after being recruited to play basketball for the historically black college.

Jeremiah Armstead, 19, was a sophomore when he moved to California with his mother, brother and sister. Fox 11 Los Angeles reported. The family has spent the past three years sleeping in their car and in domestic violence shelters.

The teen, who graduated from Long Beach Polytechnic High School this spring, began his first semester at Fisk earlier this month.

“I’m not surprised that Jeremiah is where he is now,” Armstead’s mother, Mindy Brooks, told me. ABC news. “I’m not surprised, because he’s always been a good person.”

Jeremiah Armstead, 19, began his freshman year at Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee, earlier this month after being recruited to play basketball.

The teen was a sophomore in high school when he moved to California with his mother, brother and sister, who now live in a domestic violence shelter.

The teen was a sophomore in high school when he moved to California with his mother, brother and sister, who now live in a domestic violence shelter.

Armstead (pictured with his mother Mindy Brooks) and his family have also had to sleep in their car for the past three years as they struggled with housing insecurity

Armstead (pictured with his mother Mindy Brooks) and his family have also had to sleep in their car for the past three years as they struggled with housing insecurity

Armstead’s family, coaches and community leaders all worked to help the basketball player get to college while balancing housing insecurity with his high school workload.

Keisha Daniels, the co-founder of the nonprofit Sister of Watts, reached out to We Educate Brilliant Minds on behalf of Armstead. The organization helps students get into historically black colleges (HBCUs).

“Of course I had cleverness, but it was hard to do that when being homeless and juggling everything, like domestic violence situations, things like that,” he told ABC News. “Living in a shelter, living in a car — it was hard to think, go to school, worry about my mother or my brother, my sister.”

Armstead, who graduated from Long Beach Polytechnic High School this spring, never told his friends he was homeless.  They often wondered why he was dropped off at 7-Eleven

Armstead, who graduated from Long Beach Polytechnic High School this spring, never told his friends he was homeless. They often wondered why he was dropped off at 7-Eleven

Armstead's family, coaches and community leaders all worked to help the basketball player get to college

Armstead’s family, coaches and community leaders all worked to help the basketball player get to college

Armstead was staying at a friend's house when his mother called to tell him he had been admitted to Fisk, a historically black university

Armstead was staying at a friend’s house when his mother called to tell him he had been admitted to Fisk, a historically black university

Armstead kept his family’s struggles with domestic violence and homelessness to himself. Brooks explained that his son’s friends were unaware of his situation and often wondered why he would ask to be dropped off at 7-Eleven.

He was staying at a friend’s house the morning she called to tell him he had been accepted into Fisk.

Armstead’s letter of acceptance came complete with his student ID and welcomed him to the class of 2026, a symbol of all the hardships he had overcome.

A member of the Fisk University men's basketball team, he teams up with former LA Clippers basketball player Kenneth Anderson, the head coach

A member of the Fisk University men’s basketball team, he teams up with former LA Clippers basketball player Kenneth Anderson, the head coach

Armstead (pictured with his brother) has also motivated his younger siblings to think about college thanks to his success

Armstead (pictured with his brother) has also motivated his younger siblings to think about college thanks to his success

“I want to show people that I’m in my circumstances, like, don’t stop,” Armstead told Good Morning America. ‘Never think of giving up, because something can change just like that’

A member of Fisk University’s men’s basketball team, he teams up with former LA Clippers basketball player Kenneth Anderson, who is the head coach.

Anderson told ABC News that he was impressed with the teen’s behavior and work ethic, which he believes would make him the right person for the team.

Armstead, who studies kinesiology, has also motivated his younger siblings to think about college thanks to his success.

“I want to show people who are in my circumstances, like, don’t stop,” he said. “Never think of giving up, because something can change just like that.”

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