Isaac Okebiorun comes to America

Cole Hundtoft

Leaving behind his friends and family in Germany, 17-year-old Isaac Okebiorun transferred to Downey High with the hopes of becoming a professional basketball player. A cultural blank slate, he came to the U.S. not knowing what to expect. On his first day of school, he was nothing more than astounded.

Okebiorun said, “It’s really big. There are only 800 people at my old school.”

Okebiorun also said that although the schools are smaller in Germany, the classes are much harder. He’s still adjusting to our school system, but the real problem is on the basketball court.

Okebiorun is a junior and is more than capable of playing for the school’s varsity basketball team but is forced to play on the JV team on a technicality. There were some transcript problems before coming to Downey, so the C.I.F. rules say he isn’t eligible to play on varsity this season. But hope is not lost; the varsity basketball coach has given Okebiorun documents that he will fill out and send back to Germany. If they approve the documents, he will be able to play on the varsity team for the 2009-2010 season. In the meantime, Okebiorun is attending the JV practices eager to learn the team’s basic offense and defense. JV basketball coach Mark Morales, says he thinks it should take Okebiorun only a month to learn the offense and defense.

“Even though he’s 6’6” and can dunk,” Morales said, “as long as he wants to get better, that’s all I care about.”

Okebiorun’s progress is shown throughout his practices, but he brings a type of confidence you can’t get from any kind of training. He gives his teammates the confidence to perform better in every aspect of the game.

“Teams will be more intimidated with Isaac on our team,” Gabriel Estrada, a teammate of Okebiorun, said.

What does the future have in store for our friend Isaac Okebiorun? Regardless of the outcome, you can bet you’ll see Okebiorun on the basketball court working on his game.