12.18.2008

41


I was hoping someone would write this. Now I’m hoping someone will write still more.

Andrew is the eighth of 10 children. He lost his father when he was 13. He didn’t start playing basketball seriously until he moved to England when he was 17. He sings gospel songs, every day, often alone. He says it uplifts his spirit. He says it keeps him in touch with the source. He says his favorite is God Will Make A Way. “A roadway in the wilderness,” that song says. In the locker room after the win over Gonzaga, he told me last spring, he saw peace.

Before he started playing basketball in England, he said, when he was maybe 15 and still living in Benin City, Nigeria, he barely knew the rules of the sport. He was curious enough, though, to go to the playground near his home to watch the “big boys,” he said, bolt barefoot up and down the concrete court with wooden backboards and rims with no nets. They were older, bigger and stronger, but the way they played, he thought, was wild and unstructured.

“I felt,” he told me, “they were running without purpose.”

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