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Former Bearcat looking to further his basketball career

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Courtesy: Binghamton Athletics

VESTAL (WBNG) -- Rich Caldwell Jr. graduated from Binghamton after a season where he played the best basketball of his career.

During his senior season, he played in all 29 games with 14 starts, including the last 13 games of the season.

Since graduation, Caldwell has been looking to play overseas. He has received numerous offers from teams around the world, but COVID-19 put his decision on hold.

"It slowed my recruiting down with going overseas and stuff, there are plenty of teams that had an offer for me, but I didn't take them," said Caldwell.

Adversity is nothing new for the Philadelphia native who began playing basketball because of his father.

"He was the only person that supported me, he got me dribbling a basketball and all that," said Caldwell.

During high school, Caldwell lost his dad to a heart attack. The tragedy left him wanting to give up on the game of basketball until his high school coach stepped in.

"I told her I'm done, I quit basketball," he said. "I didn't even want to go to school I was going to drop out, but she told me to stay in school and helped me get to my JUCO college."

Caldwell eventually returned to the team and played well enough to earn him a spot at Lamar Community College. After two seasons he transferred to Division 1 Binghamton University.

After his junior year, tragedy struck again.

During the summer of 2019, Caldwell and the Binghamton basketball program lost player Calistus Anyichie to a tragic drowning incident.

"It changed my life and my look on the world," he said. "Anybody could go at any moment and that really hurt me and changed my life."

Caldwell played his senior season in memory of his former teammate and averaged 28.9 minutes with over nine points and four rebounds in conference games.

"I used to think about him every single day, seeing his number everyday in practice on the court, on the jerseys, everybody posting about him," said Caldwell.

Following the season, Caldwell once again beat adversity and was able to graduate from Binghamton. He said it was a school he could have never envisioned himself graduating from.

Now he continues to play for the people he lost and encourages everyone struggling with mental health to seek help that could change their life.

"You have to cherish these moments and work as hard as you can to have an amazing life and that's all I've been doing," said Caldwell.

Caldwell said his next destination playing basketball will most likely be in Kosovo.

Jacob Seus

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