The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Basketball steadies student’s shifting life

Born+in+Queens%2C+N.Y.%2C+and+reared+in+Lagos%2C+Nigeria%2C+Adegoke+plans+to+transfer+to+a+university+after+this+semester+on+SE.+
Born in Queens, N.Y., and reared in Lagos, Nigeria, Adegoke plans to transfer to a university after this semester on SE.
SE student Abiodua Adegoke does a reverse dunk in the gym. He plays in the gym every day after class.
SE student Abiodua Adegoke does a reverse dunk in the gym. He plays in the gym every day after class.

By Marley Malenfant/feature editor

SE student Abiodua Adegoke doesn’t beg for attention. The Queens, N.Y., native gets enough of it being 6 feet, 8 inches tall.

Instead, hand him a basketball.

Adegoke started playing the game at 9 after watching the older kids on the playgrounds in the Jamaica neighborhood of Queens. There, he met his best friend, who showed Adegoke how to play.

Two years later, his best friend was killed in a random shooting. 

A year later, Adegoke and his mother left Queens and moved to Lagos, Nigeria, his mother’s hometown. He said his mom didn’t want to risk her son getting involved in the wrong crowd or any illegal activity.

“I left Queens because I had to get away from all the trouble,” he said. “I was 10 when he was shot. And he was someone who inspired me to play basketball.”

Adegoke said he didn’t want to leave Queens, but the move to Lagos straightened him out.

“It made me focus more,” he said. “I played basketball while I was there, too.”

Adegoke returned to the U.S. at 15. He went to high school in Buford, Ga., and tried playing football but said he wasn’t in shape for the sport.

“I didn’t do it for long because I was overweight,” he said. “I was chubby growing up and didn’t hit my growth spurt yet.”

While in Georgia, Adegoke played for an Amateur Athletic Union basketball team, developing a close relationship with head coach Chico Robinson. Adegoke said the coach is like a father figure to him since his real father is incarcerated in Spain.

“Coach Chico is the reason I’m in Texas right now,” he said.

After high school, Adegoke attended Western Texas College in Snyder. While at the college, Adegoke saw recruiters from larger schools but said his grades weren’t up to par.

So Adegoke left Snyder to attend SE Campus. While still not sure, Adegoke is considering transferring to the University of Southern California, the University of Texas at Arlington or the University of Texas at Austin after this semester.

Born in Queens, N.Y., and reared in Lagos, Nigeria, Adegoke plans to transfer to a university after this semester on SE.
Born in Queens, N.Y., and reared in Lagos, Nigeria, Adegoke plans to transfer to a university after this semester on SE.

“USC is just an option right now,” he said. “Right now, I’m thinking about staying in Texas. I have to take it slow.”

Adegoke said he talks to his incarcerated father over the phone. He isn’t upset with his father’s situation and instead uses it as a way to stay grounded.

“I believe people want to be somebody, but sometimes they can’t,” he said. “So they look for an alternative route. And I just don’t want that. That’s why I do this. I do this because I choose to.”

SE student Michael Walker, who played pickup games with Adegoke in open gym, said he’s impressed with Adegoke’s skills.

SE student Andrew Russell said he’s surprised Adegoke is at TCC.

“A guy his size should be playing basketball at a big college, not intramurals,” he said. “He’s strong and powerful. And he’s left-handed, so that’s just another advantage for him.”

Adegoke, like many athletes, hopes to play basketball professionally, but his major is international law.

He said his mom stays on his case but is also his go-to person for needed motivation.

“She really pushes me to do a lot of things,” he said. “She always tells me to apply myself at anything I do, and I keep that in the back of my mind.”

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