Sometimes in life you just happen to chance across a story that puts a big smile on your face, and I imagine for many basketball fans this week they experienced just that as they caught up on college basketball news following Saturday’s meet up between the Northwestern State Demons and the Louisiana Monroe Warhawks.
The final score on the court was 91 to 73 in the Demons’ favour, but that was not the headline that hit the newsfeeds at the end of the game – that honour was taken by Louisiana State freshman Hansel Emmanuel and for those who like to have a little bit of a gamble on events, you probably would not have seen this one coming on the odds sheets.
The 19 year old came off the bench in the game to register his first ever competitive college basketball points, but the more remarkable fact of his achievement was simply that following a childhood accident, where aged just six years old a pile of cinderblocks fell on his left arm, doctors determined that the damage was so severe that they felt that they had no option but to amputate his arm just below the left shoulder.
Having then moved to Florida and later became an internet sensation whilst in high school, that injury was still unable to stop him from weaving in from the right to score his first bucket – a stylish layup – with just under three minutes to go in the second half.
As you can imagine, almost everyone in the crowd at the Prather Coliseum given the bumper crowd of 1627 rose to their feet to applaud and acknowledge his iconic moment, and then a minute later the 6 foot 6 guard, came up with an even greater moment to celebrate as he provided the most iconic moment of the entire game.
He took his tally to four points with a thunderous dunk, and rounded it up to five points shortly after following a free throw.
In a quote provided to the Southland Conference school’s website, Emmanuel commented.
‘I had to keep going after the layup – that was my first bucket. I know my family was proud. I had to keep working. You can’t give up.’
The 19 year old had played in the four previous games for the Demons this season, but only had one rebound to his name after missing two shots in those clashes, so his performance against the Warhawks will certainly become a lasting memory for the lad.
He was two of three from the field, and one of five from the foul line, along with two rebounds in eight minutes in the Warhawks tie.
Referencing the injury that he sustained, the Dominican Republic born freshman had stated that he saw the experience provided by his life changing injuries as a ‘blessing’, even though he was eventually forced to give up his first love of playing baseball to switch to the court.
If the experiences in his early life are anything to go by, basketball fans may well hear his name again in the future, even if it is not directly related to the sport.
Nicknamed ‘Kikimita’ – a pass down from his father who was called the same during his professional playing days, he ended by saying.
‘That was a great game for us. Everyone was hitting shots. The bench was great. The energy was great. We play hard. That’s our team – the Demons.’ If you want to bet on the basket games with the latest bonuses, check this betting guide for NJ.
Photo by Unsplash