SAN ANTONIO – No matter what happens this weekend, the Kansas Center Udoka Azubuike will have a Final Four to remember.
That's because his mother Florence is traveling from Nigeria to see her son for the first time since he played basketball in the United States in ninth grade. The Nigerian government approved her visa to travel on Thursday and allowed her to fly to San Antonio.
When Kansas scores against Villanova in the semi-final on Saturday night, it will be the first time her son has played basketball. 19659002] "I'm pretty excited," said Azubuike. "It will be an emotional moment for me."
The NCAA is providing a $ 3,000 scholarship to family members to travel to the Final Four semi-finals. This scholarship increases to $ 4,000 for teams in the championship game. In addition to Azubuike, Silvio De Sousa (Africa) and Svi Mykhailiuk (Ukraine) will bring overseas parents to San Antonio thanks to this NCAA program
But it was more complicated for Azubuike's mother to do it here. Kansas officials had to work with the US Department of State and the Nigerian consulate to obtain not just a passport but a travel visa. Kansas coach Bill Self said that Azubuike's mother had to travel a long distance from her home in Delta, Nigeria, only to secure her visa on Thursday morning.
Azubuike said his mother is supposed to fly from Nigeria to France and then to the United States, and is expected to arrive sometime on Friday night.
"We want to win the game but win the game more important than making sure there is no distraction for Doke?" Of course not, "Even said. Can you imagine you've never seen your son play basketball, and the first time you do it, is there 70,000 people doing this thing? I can not even imagine what she's going through at least. "
Azubuike played football in Nigeria and then began playing basketball as he got older, he visited a camp and attracted much attention and an offer to high school Playing basketball at the Potters House Christian Academy in Jacksonville, Florida.
"My mother spoke to the bishop in Jacksonville," Azubuike said. "My mother is a Christian and when she heard about Christianity and is a member of the Church she was as if I was fine with it. That's how it worked. "
There was an initial trepidation about leaving, but both knew it was the right thing to do, and before they left, his mother handed him a Bible.
" She knew that because of the Situation Things that were at home, were not conducive to me and it was hard at the time, because we had many bad things and did it was not good for me, "said Azubuike," when I got the opportunity to travel to the USA I did not think long about playing basketball and going to school. My mother was also quite upset. "
When asked how he would try to suppress his feelings when he first sees his mother, Azubuike said," It will be nice. I can not think about it now. "