ATCHISON, Kansas -- Jallen Messersmith apparently is the first openly gay male college basketball player in history.
The 6-foot-7 forward plays for Benedictine College, a liberal arts Catholic school that competes in the NAIA. He lead the team's conference in blocked shots last year.
Messersmith came out to his family after spring semester 2012, and informed his coaches at the beginning of the fall semester, according to SBNation's OutSports.
“They were there 100% for me,” Messersmith told Jim Buzinski. “They said it would not make any difference in the way the team was run. And they wanted to make sure it wouldn’t change my experience at the school. That was awesome. After that, I felt like I could do anything.”
Messersmith didn't make a big "coming out" announcement, allowing the news to spread gradually.
“Everybody was cool with it and nobody said anything bad about it,” teammate Brett Fisher told OutSports. “They know what’s up and he is treated similar to the way we treat every other teammate.”
Messersmith explains how he grew up as Mormon, overcame bullying in school, and goes out on more dates than his basketball teammates.