By Dean “The Sportsman” Greenaway
Kleon Penn is the first BVI Basketball player to be invited to try out for an NBA team. The Minnesota Timberwolves—who are coached by Sam Mitchell, who coached the U.S. Virgin Islands to the 2015 CBC Championships gold medal at the Multipurpose Sports Complex this summer—was impressed with Penn’s play for the BVI team during the tournament.
Penn, a 7 footer center, began his basketball career with the HLSCC Stingrays, coached by Morris Wattley at the time. He then went on to McNeese State University, where he set a school record for blocked shots with 117 in a season averaging 4.0 per game and is the second on the McNeese State Cowboys All Time list with 254 blocked shots.
Penn was undrafted by the NBA in 2009, but was the 2nd pick by Humacao in the Puerto Rico draft, a team with whom he played professionally through 2014. Kleon has played in leagues on Mexico, Venezuela and the Dominican Republic as well. Following a fourth stint with Humacao—who whom he won three straight Defensive Player of the Year Awards, he was traded to Bayamon in January 2014, the team he now plays for.
After averaging 4.5 points, 5.5 rebounds and 2.0 blocks in 18.4 minutes per game with Bayamon, Penn signed with the Minnesota Timberwolves on September 18, 2015.