Chapter 2: Europe – Basketball Exchange

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Reebok EuroCamp 2009 – Treviso, Italy

 

Months after the refusal of his Student Visa to attend South Kent Prep, Harry participated in a FIBA Africa tournament in 2006 which featured the most talented players in Africa including, Serge Ibaka, Harry impressed a few Scouts and was given the opportunity in 2007 to travel to Lyon, France, an opportunity to play with ADECCO ASVEL of Villeurbanne. “I practiced two to three times a day with the Espoir team and PRO A team. I had to learn some French somehow.” Harry studied close to 22 team plays in order to keep up with team practices. Plays were run in both English and French, you had to figure it out somehow, Harry says.

After spending few months in France, Harry returned to Nigeria to process his Visa to JacksonVille but that didn’t work out. Fortunately in 2008, an opportunity to play in Serbia came knocking. “I never in my life thought about going or being in Serbia, but this game takes you places. The diversity it affords is remarkable.” Harry lived in Serbia for almost 6months under the leadership of Coach Vlado Jurovic, a coach who instilled endurance in his game. “We would run outside while it snowed, on hills, parks, across and under bridges before going to the weight room. It was crazy, hats off to the Serbians.” Learning the Serbian language became a must. “That’s all I heard everyday, on the street, on the court, restaurant and on TV, I started picking up a few words, and found acceptance.”

As of this time, Harry had already gone through the tough process every international athlete would go through; language barrier, food, being away from family, cultural differences, and the struggle to stay focused and be professional regardless of constraints. In the Summer of 2009, Harry was invited to participate in the Reebook EuroCamp which featured the likes of Patrick Beverly, Patrick Mills, Jonas Jobrebko and Rodrigue Beaubois. “This I saw as my last opportunity to make it professionally since my Student Visa refusals marred my academic opportunities.” His participation in this camp would give him a closer shot to an NBA Dream. FIBA, NBA GM’s, Executives and Scouts from all over the basketball world were present at this camp. Every international basketball player look forward to getting selected to attend this camp. “I was fortunate, but didn’t just want to be a participant, I wanted to make a lasting impression that may lead to the next opportunity.” After his participation in the Camp, Harry was presented an opportunity to play in Valencia, Spain. As of this time, Harry had already reached out to Anicet Lavodrama to know if he still had the opportunity to athend a higher institution away from the United States. “I’ve always wanted to go to school, that was a priority to me, and I’m glad that none of these opportunities in Europe jeoperdized my academic opportunity.” Anicet became a guide that propelled his academic decision. Harry knew that whatever his decision was, his family will support him and that’s all that mattered to him.

 

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