Homeless teenager lands college spot with his basketball skills

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

Jeremiah Armstead, 19, was in second grade 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 at domestic violence shelters.

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

“I’m not surprised Jeremiah is where he is today,” said Armstead mother Mindy Brooks ABC News. “I’m not surprised because he’s always been a good person.”

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

The teenager 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 teenager 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 her mother Mindy Brooks) and her family have also had to sleep in their car while battling housing insecurity for the past three years

Armstead (pictured with her mother Mindy Brooks) and her family have also had to sleep in their car while battling housing insecurity for the past three years

Family, coaches and community leaders in Armstead all worked to help the basketball player get into college while he balanced housing insecurity with his high school workload.

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

“I was bringing intelligence, of course, but it was hard to do that being homeless and juggling everything, like domestic violence situations, just stuff like that,” he said. at ABC News. “Living in a shelter, living in a car – it was hard to think, to go to school, to 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 would be 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 would be dropped off at 7-Eleven

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

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

Armstead was staying with a friend when his mother called to tell him he had been accepted to Fisk, a historically black university.

Armstead was staying with a friend when his mother called to tell him he had been accepted 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 with a friend the morning she called to tell him he had been accepted into Fisk.

Armstead’s letter of acceptance was accompanied by his student ID welcoming him to the class of 2026, a symbol of all the hardships he had overcome.

As a member of the Fisk University men's basketball team, he works with former LA Clippers basketball player Kenneth Anderson, who is the head coach.

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

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

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

“I just want to show people who are in my situation, don’t stop,” Armstead told Good Morning America. ‘Never think about giving up because just like that things might change’

As a member of the Fisk University men’s basketball team, he works with former LA Clippers basketball player Kenneth Anderson, who serves as the head coach.

Anderson told ABC News he was impressed with the teenager’s demeanor and work ethic, which he believed would make him the right fit for the team.

Armstead, who is studying kinesiology, also motivated her younger siblings to start thinking about college thanks to her success.

“I just want to show people who are in my situation, don’t stop,” he said. “Never think about giving up because just like that things might change.”