May 29, 2009
On May 24, Tennessee basketball player Emmanuel Negedu returned from a visit to see his family in Kaduna, Nigeria. It had been years since the rising sophomore forward had been home, so Brandon Shell caught up with Negedu to inquire about the trip.
Q: You recently returned from a visit home to Kaduna, Nigeria. How was the trip?
A: It was good. I spent time visiting with family and friends. It was the first time I had returned home in two years, so I was excited to see everyone. I also revisited the place I first learned to play basketball in Nigeria.
Q: How long was your stay in Nigeria, and how long did it take you to travel there from the United States?
A: The trip there took about a full day between the driving and the flying. I was supposed to stay in Nigeria for two weeks, but I ended up staying two and a half weeks because I had to renew my Visa, and that took longer than expected.
Q: When will be the next time you return to Nigeria?
A: I would love to return next year, but whether I get to go or not depends on a lot of things.
Q: What do you like most about going home?
A: My favorite parts were being able to see my family and friends--and the food. I ate everything there, because a lot of it I can't eat in the U.S. My favorite is goat meat, and I ate some rabbit and a bunch of other stuff. I had to kill the goat in order for us to eat it.
Q: Is there anything you missed about the United States while you were in Africa?
A: Yes, I missed my (American) host family, my girlfriend, my friends and basketball. In Nigeria there aren't a lot of places to play basketball or work out, so I didn't really get to do either of those things.
Q: Speaking of basketball, now that you're a college student-athlete in America, did the people in Nigeria treat you any differently?
A: Well, some of my friends would ask what it's like to be a basketball player in the U.S. And some people were a lot more shy around me than they used to be, but for the most part once I got there it was like I was back home again.
Q: For those who may not know much about Nigeria, what would you say is the biggest difference between it and the United States?
A: The governments are different in the way they view things. And the people in Nigeria are different in some ways, but they are very similar also. The main difference would be the roads and the way the people drive. The roads in Nigeria are crazy. People ride bicycles on the roads, and the people who are driving act like they don't even see them. Also, there are a lot of kids who are on the streets trying to get some food for their families or for themselves.
Q: Now that you're back in the United States, what are you planning to do with the rest of your summer?
A: Ha! Just work out and get back in shape after all the food I ate! I'll spend time with friends and my host family (in Boston, Mass.) and try to get better at basketball for next season.