Sunday, March 21, 2021

From Rural Nigeria to the NCAA Tournament



Maybe the world is slowly returning to normal.  March Madness -- the NCAA basketball tournament -- is back!

Gordon Monson for the Salt Lake Tribune reports on an incredible journey of a college basketball player.  

A junior forward for BYU,  Gideon George just a few years ago played basketball on the ragged black top courts in Minna, the capital city of the Niger State.  The average annual income in Minna is estimated in some reports to be about $500.

George started gathering up high-tops and low-tops when he first came to America to play at New Mexico Junior College, after he saw a teammate throwing a pair of used shoed into the garbage. George soon was collecting hundreds of shoes — Nikes, Jordans, Adidas, Converse, New Balance, Buster Browns, Hush Puppies, anything — as a part of an effort made by the Time Out 4 Africa Foundation to be distributed to those in need.

George grew up in need. He first came to the United States to play junior college basketball in New Mexico, before transferring to BYU.  He comes off the bench for the Cougars, averaging just more than 12 minutes per game.

George played in the NCAA tournament. He played but UCLA beat BYU 73-62 in the first round of the NCAA tournament.


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