Kalin Bennett, Division I basketball recruit diagnosed with autism, plays for Kent State in opener

Kalin Bennett made his debut with the Kent State Flashes on Wednesday night.

(CNN)Kalin Bennett says he wants kids to believe in themselves "first and foremost" -- and he's hoping he can be an example.

Bennett is the first student-athlete with autism to sign a national letter of intent to play a team sport at the NCAA Division I level. He made his debut for Kent State University's men's basketball team in its season-opening game Wednesday.
Kent State won the home game against Hiram, also of northern Ohio, at the MAC Center, 97-58.
Bennett entered the game with six minutes left to play, and he finished with 2 points, two rebounds and one block. He scored his first collegiate points on a hook shot with less than three minutes left to play.
    After the game, Bennett's teammates cheered him over to the school's victory bell for him to ring. "For my mom to see it was really big for me," Bennett said after the game. "To let her know that everything you've done has not been in vain."
    Bennett is not the first student-athlete with autism to receive a scholarship; Anthony Ianni received a scholarship from Michigan State University in 2011. However, Ianni did not receive a scholarship from Michigan State until he transferred there for his senior year, according to an interview Ianni gave to Autism Speaks.
    Bennett, on the other hand, is the first to sign a national letter of intent for a Division I basketball scholarship, according to Cleveland.com, citing the NCAA.
    The NCAA did not respond to a request for comment from CNN.
    Kalin Bennett and his teammates celebrated the win by ringing the victory bell.
    Autism spectrum disorder is a developmental disorder that can cause social, communication and behavioral challenges, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
    It can impact how someone interacts with others, learns and communicates.
    Kent State's