A 5,000-Mile Journey Begins with Basketball

A scholarship from Carroll and financial assistance from the A2S Foundation enabled Uche to move to the U.S. to finish high school and stay with a host family. She says, “I was very nervous. It’s scary to move to a place you’ve never been, not knowing anyone, and not having any relatives closeby. But this opportunity was what I had been hoping and praying for, so I just had to go.”

Today, Uche is experiencing all of the joys and challenges of a typical senior at Carroll.  She is busy studying for exams, talking with classmates about the latest events at school, and thinking about where she wants to go to college next year.  But amidst the busyness of the school year, she feels truly blessed to be receiving a great education in America and playing the sport she loves. She recalls, “My father almost stopped me from playing basketball when I was in Nigeria so that I could get a job to help pay my school tuition. I thank God that didn’t happen and that my prayers were answered.”

Uche, who is 6’4”, was introduced to basketball only two years ago when her parents enrolled her in a basketball camp in Nigeria. She immediately fell in love with it. After returning to the camp the following year, she made a sizable impression on one of the instructors. So much so, that he put her in contact with Coach Edythe White, an acquaintance in the U.S. who coaches the girls basketball team at Carroll.

Although getting acclimated to a new country, new culture, and new people has not been easy, Uche is happy with her decision. She’s starting to feel at home here, and with basketball season underway, there’s not much time to feel homesick. She’s focused on performing to the best of her ability both in the classroom and on the court.

Coach White, who has worked with Uche extensively over the past year, thinks she brings a lot to Carroll’s basketball team. She says, “Uche’s size and rebounding ability are a huge upside; and she is very coachable. That is always a plus. She has a tremendous amount of potential and will continue to develop her game.”

Off the court, a large amount of Uche’s time and attention is devoted to planning for college and securing an athletic scholarship. She has received interest from several colleges. Currently, she is deciding between two schools, both of which offer the accounting major in which she’s interested.

Every day she strives to improve. “I just want to do well in school and play basketball at the highest level possible,” she says, “and one day get a good job so that I can bring my friends and family here.”