Sour Grapes: Road to a basketball scholarship from London

basketball scholarship

It’s the Spring of 2008 and I’m listening to music in the cafeteria. I check my emails for any basketball scholarship offers, then my phone rings. An assistant coach from a Division 1 School is on the other end…

The Beginning

I started playing organized basketball in 2000 at the age of 15. At 17, I would always go to my school library and watch recorded NCAA basketball games.

One day while watching a recorded game,  I make the decision that I want an NCAA Division 1 Basketball scholarship. However; I didn’t know the procedure to get one. I emailed most Division 1 Schools by the conference and asked questions. They all answered with, “Work hard and send us game-tape”.

I saved money and bought a video camera. I played at the national basketball league u18s and U20s at the time and asked someone to record my games. 3 years of emailing, playing, recording and sending my games and it seemed I was getting nowhere.

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Sour Grapes

It’s New Years 2005, I’m still in England and I am not happy. I feel like my chances of getting a basketball scholarship are getting slim. I decided to start sending emails to junior colleges and ask if I could try out for their teams. I didn’t have the money for a transatlantic flight. However; I figured that if any school agreed to a tryout, I would find the money.

I eventually arrange a tryout with a junior college in Kansas and I’m set to try out in the summer. As the summer gets closer,  a recurring sharp pain develops in my chest. I go to the hospital and the doctor tells me it’s nothing serious. Two weeks later, I have no appetite and a constant cough. The doctor x-rays my chest and sends me home with an ibuprofen prescription and another appointment in 10 days scheduled for July 8th, 2005. I was seriously confused, but I went home assuming the doctors knew what they were talking about. At this point, I feel my goal of a basketball scholarship is slipping away.

Few days later…

I’m in bed the entire day due to weakness. I’ve dropped from 215 LBS  to 180 LBS.  I have almost no appetite, but I have a craving for grapes ONLY. I eat 2 bags of grapes and go to bed.

I wake up in the middle of the night and throw up the grapes.

The next day June 29th, 2005

I eat a bag of grapes for lunch and dinner. I’m very weak and I’ve slept the whole day.  My dad tells me to get up we are going to the hospital. I told him that I have an appointment for July 8th, but we go anyway.

We get to the hospital and it’s my turn to get x-rayed. I throw up all the grapes in the x-ray room. After the x-ray, the doctor diagnosed me with a left lung pleural effusion caused by bacterial pneumonia. The doctor tells me that I would have lost my left lung or have died by July 8th. The doctor then proceeds to tell me good news and bad news. Good news being that my left lung can be saved. The bad news is, I won’t be able to recover and play basketball for at least 2-3 years. During those 10 days in the hospital, I decided to quit basketball.

 

Fighting for a division 1 basketball scholarship

After a month of retirement, I decide to go against the doctor’s advice and plays basketball. A year later I fly to the States to try out for two Junior Colleges teams. I get accepted to one school, but then the head coach accepts a job at another school. When I get back to London, my stress levels are high because the coach leaving was a game changer. I get online and talk my friend Jerome and tell him my situation. Jerome is already at a junior college and recommends me to his coach. 3 Months later I land in Washington D.C. with a two-year basketball scholarship. I know that I’m half way there and the goal of a Division 1 basketball scholarship is getting closer.

After two years in junior college, I’m recruited by no Division 1 schools. I download a free video editor and put my junior college highlights on YouTube.

A month later, I’m listening to music in the cafeteria. I check my emails for any scholarship offers, then my phone rings. An assistant coach from a Division 1 School is on the other end.10375024_10154938976275128_7641736551747188088_n

Two week later

I receive a Division 1 basketball scholarship to play at Savannah State University for my final two years. #makegoals #livesmart

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