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Derrick Obasohan
Derrick Obasohan (NGR) 2012 London Games
NGR – Education came first in Obasohan’s house

CHOLET (Olympics) - Derrick Obasohan remembers the emphasis his Nigerian parents placed on education when he was growing up.

Even as he showed great potential as a basketball player, Obasohan understood that the classroom always came first.

"Big time," Obasohan said to

"At school, education came first and basketball came second."

As Obasohan developed in the sport and raised the eyebrows of college coaches, his mother advised him on which scholarship to accept.

"My mother made sure that when I was looking at schools, and schools were recruiting me, that academics played a big part in their program," he said.

"Nigerian parents, they don't see sport as a way out or as a way to better yourself.

"They see it as a way to go to school, to make it better for yourself academically and help you get a job.

“It just so happened that I was good enough to play basketball, European basketball.

"If I hadn't been, I graduated with information systems as my major and Spanish as my minor.

"I was ready for both worlds, either way."

Obasohan’s parents left Nigeria for the United States to get an education themselves.

His mother attended Rutgers in New Jersey, and his father went to Penn in Philadelphia.

Obasohan ultimately decided the best fit both on and off the court for him was the University of Texas Arlington.

He is not critical of those in the game that have not received their university degrees.

“As far as my family, the NBA and Europe were second and third options,” he said.

“School was first and you know, it works out for some players that don't go to school (university) and it doesn't work out for some others.

“Everyone makes his own decision in life.”

The Olympics

By performing in the game at a high level, Obasohan has had the opportunity to represent Nigeria at events like the 2006 FIBA World Championship, and the London Games.

Just several months ago, he was in the national team that had success at the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament (OQT) in Caracas, Venezuela.

It was one of the greatest moments of his career.

Immediately after beating the Dominican Republic and booking a spot in London, the Nigerians sang and danced like there was no tomorrow.

"I was dreaming about that moment when your parents and your friends back home watch you walk around the track (in the Opening Ceremony)," he said.

"It felt great representing your country.

“I'm American, also, but Nigeria gave me a chance to compete in the Olympics.

"I'm very grateful for that."

Obasohan, who is married, last year played in Spain and at the start of this season he was in Argentina.

Now he is on the books of Cholet Basket in France.

"My wife loves this life," he said.

"Of course, she wishes I was back home playing in America.

"Last year, I had the opportunity to play in a pretty good city, Barcelona, with Joventut Badalona.

"I've also played in Turkey, France."

Uncertain NT future

Obasohan experienced the Olympics but doesn't know yet if he'll play for Nigeria again this summer at the Afrobasket when they attempt to qualify for the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup.

He turns 32 in April and to play for a national team requires a lot of sacrifice.

“I really don't know yet,” he said.

“We don't know who the coach is going to be.

“I've played with them the last three summers after my seasons and there is only so much my wife can take.

“She wants me to be at home during the summer and helping out with the kids.”


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