South Kent School Welcomes First “Slam Dunk” Scholarship Winner

May 9th 2008
SOUTH KENT, Conn. -- (May 9, 2008) – South Kent School (SKS) is celebrating the arrival here of the first winner of Japan's prestigious Slam Dunk scholarship competition. The winner, Narito Namizato, is studying at SKS and will be participating in the school's acclaimed basketball program.

The scholarship -- sponsored by renowned Japanese author and artist Takehiko Inoue, the author of the international best-selling basketball book Slam Dunk -- awards a full academic and sports scholarship to SKS to the top 17–18 year-old basketball player in Japan. SKS was selected by Mr. Inoue and Shueisha, Inc. -- his publisher -- as the perfect U.S. college preparatory school for the Slam Dunk scholarship winner.

Nari, who is the starting point guard on the under-18 Japanese national basketball team, came in first among a field of young scholar-athletes who competed for the scholarship in Japan. This spring he is attending English-language development and SAT preparation courses at SKS. Following that he will attend a summer intensive English-language development program here. In the fall Nari will attend SKS as a full-time post-graduate student and participate in the school's basketball program.
Richard Brande, SKS Director of Admissions and Financial Aid said: “We are pleased and delighted to have Narito here at South Kent School and applaud the first winner of this exciting and innovative international scholarship competition. We believe the combination of rigorous academics, competitive basketball and advanced language-skills development is an ideal combination of activities for all boys making the crucial transition to manhood.”

“We also welcome the opportunity to provide this educational experience to the youth of Japan. We also applaud Mr. Inoue and Shueisha for having the vision and foresight to create the Slam Dunk scholarship program, “ Mr. Brande said.

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About the Slam Dunk Scholarship, Manga and Takehiko Inoue
Manga are book-sized graphic novels that are enormously popular among teenagers in Japan and – increasingly – in the U.S. Mr. Inoue's award-winning Slam Dunk is a manga publishing phenomenon. The book is published in 23 countries and has sold more than 100 million copies in Japan alone.

As an expression of his appreciation to the sport of basketball Mr. Inoue established the Slam Dunk Scholarship for aspiring Japanese students who play basketball – a sport which Slam Dunk single-handedly helped to popularize in Japan.
In an interview published in 2006 Mr. Inoue said, “I ended up creating the Slam Dunk Scholarship, to promote basketball in Japan. Currently Japanese kids who play basketball will stop once they graduate from high school. There is a professional basketball league (in Japan) called BJ league, but I have to say, it's not as dominant as baseball or soccer. The kids can't see themselves becoming professional basketball players…Many Japanese people probably don't know about prep schools.

Prep school's purpose is to prepare high school graduates for universities and higher education. South Kent School is ideal for a Japanese student to study English and prepare for college. If the player attracts the eyes of a scout, he might have a chance at receiving a college sports scholarship and play in the NCAA. All I can offer is an opportunity; the students need to do the rest by themselves.”



About South Kent School

South Kent School (SKS) is an independent college preparatory school for boys located in South Kent, CT. Since its founding in 1923, SKS has maintained ties with the Episcopal Church. The school offers an environment that, through living simply, encourages lively and rigorous learning. The school embraces diversity and cherishes honesty, courtesy and compassion. South Kent nurtures in its students, regardless of belief or religious affiliation, a thoughtful involvement with spirituality. SKS welcomes boarding and day students grades 9 through 12 and post-graduate. SKS is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges. The school is located at 40 Bulls Bridge Road, South Kent, CT 06785 (www.southkentschool.org).

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