As a kid basketball seemed like an abstract thing I only got to see on television in the middle of the night once in a while. Growing up in Nigeria, I didn’t have enough access to the game of basketball. Basketball was not a popular sport in schools, and only a handful of people had an idea of the sport in my community. As I grew taller, my older brother and his friends encouraged me to start playing with them. I had a love for the game but from an outside perspective. I never imagined that it would be something I do because no one really plays basketball in Nigeria. I attended a camp hosted by Masai Ujiri (current GM for the Toronto Raptors). This was the moment everything changed for me. I struggled in almost every drill, and I had a terrible camp. At the end of the camp Masai [who was at the time a scout for the Denver Nuggets] came up to me and said “I will be back in 3 Months and I better see your improvement”.
This was the moment I fell in love with the development process of the game. My brother and his friends were supremely athletic, and I had to play against them all day. I didn’t know anything about the game, but whatever I saw the night before I wanted to try and master it by the time I played against my brother and his friends. I would stay up late at night to be able to watch an NBA game. In less than 3 months, I was presented with the opportunity to leave home and continue my education in the US while growing as a player.
I came over to the US in 2009 at 14 years old after playing basketball for only 3 months. Amidst being homesick, scared, and uncertain, I knew that I had the opportunity to maybe get a college education someday if I worked hard enough. I fell in love with the process of getting better and studying the world around the game as I had more access to it now. In less than 2 years, I am playing in front of hundreds/thousands of people and college coaches recruiting me to get a free education. The game of basketball took me further than I ever imagined I could, and I have an undying passion because of it. None of this would be possible if I did not fall in love with the process of getting better. The process of developing as a player is something, I came to fall in love with throughout my playing career. I have been blessed to be around the best basketball minds as I progressed. Being around Coach Morgan and Joe Wootten, helped me understand the level of dedication the game of basketball requires. Attention to detail, hard work, and playing at the highest intensity all the time is what I learned throughout my high school career.
In my first two years of college, I became engulfed in the procedure of perfecting my craft and changing my body. I became more concerned about being really good at what I am already good at in pursuit of more playing time for the upcoming season. In the summer of 2016, my best friend Melo Trimble was training for the NBA draft. I accompanied him to different training sessions and got to watch many professional trainers get him ready for the draft. I started training sessions with my teammates on Sunday mornings and some weeknights as a way to implement things as I had seen over the summer. This is when I got reminded of the joy of mastering a craft. The joy of learning something new and implementing those skills in a competitive setting. This is the moment I decided that becoming a basketball trainer would be something I do in the future.
Watching kids master a craft and utilize their skills to become productive players is an unmeasurable joy and that is what I love the most about training. Evolution provides a community of trainers that are well experienced and combine their knowledge to create an environment where young players can have fun, compete and develop their talent all in one.
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