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Big Red Hero

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

By: Anne Ju, Cornell Chronicle

With a barely perceptible limp, Khaliq Gant walked to center court of Newman Arena on basketball's senior night, March 7, to be honored with other graduating teammates.

He wished he could hear the announcer, but the audience had drowned the voice out. Above him a banner read, "KHALIQ HERO FOR ALL TIME."

Gant has not worn a basketball uniform since a career-ending spinal cord injury in January 2006. But he's been part of a team that went from just one winning season in nine years to winning Ivy League championships.

"It's bittersweet," said Gant, a communication major. "Bitter in the fact that obviously I want to be playing, and I feel I could have made an impact playing with these guys. At the same time, I wouldn't be here now if I wasn't injured."

Gant was eligible to graduate this past fall, but he decided to stick around this year for one more basketball season, his fifth. He is now traveling with the team as they face the University of Missouri in the first round of the NCAA tournament in Boise, Idaho.

"It's hard to see him leave our program," said head coach Steve Donahue. "I'm so happy things have turned out the way they did, but if I put myself back in that situation and all that he went through, it's difficult."

To read Anne Ju's story on Cornell senior Khaliq Gant, plase click here.