International Basketball Players At Benedict’s


Gabriel Cuadrado

Senior Bourama Sidibe taking pride in his future alma mater, Syracuse University

Joseph Tyler Sousa, Staff Writer

A little less than half of the St. Benedict’s Varsity Basketball players for the 2016/17 season are international students. Players from France, Mali, Nigeria and Sweden, come together to represent the Gray Bees, ranked 17th nationally.

But the adjustment to their new homes has not always been easy.

Many of the students find the academic work here harder than expected. “In my old school in Sweden, Solna Gymnasium, we studied topics that are different from the ones we are studying now, for example U.S. History 1 with Mr. Gallerani,” said UDII Ebrima “Ebo” Dibba.

But the academic side isn’t the only thing these student athletes have to adapt to.

“The environment here in the United States is very different from France. The language, learning styles, city sites, foods, etc, are a big change for me coming from such a big city in Europe,” UDII Andre Toure said.

When the international players arrive in the U.S., it’s all a new experience for them. A new language to learn, a new environment to live in… essentially a new beginning. “One of the first things we had to learn when coming to America was how to improve our English. Some of us knew the language already, but it wasn’t that easy for others,” said freshman Isah Mohammed from where.

The biggest change for most of the students is their living space. When international recruits arrive from different countries, it is essential that they know the coach will take care of their basic needs, this includes, uniforms, books, school supplies, and daily essential needs.

“Where I come from, the school is very different. Not a lot of kids go to school because of how much schools supplies cost.” said UDII Mandani Diarra from where

While most international students live here on campus in the Leahy House, UDI Precious Achiuwa and Freshman Isah Mohammed, the only two Nigerian internationals on the team, live with teammate and freshman Noah Farrakhan. They commute everyday from their house in time for convocation at 7:50am. “At first, it was hard to wake up so early to get to school for 7:50am” said Precious. “Also, living with two of my teammates is pretty cool as well.”

Benedict’s has helped multiple international athletes achieve academic and athletic success beyond high school.

Senior Bourama Sidibe, a student here since tenth grade, has recently been given a full ride from Syracuse University. “Since I could remember, my dream was to play professionally in the NBA.” “Playing for St. Benedict’s has helped me achieve those goals and attend a great university.”

To most students here, including the internationals, most believe that when accepted to Benedict’s, their ultimate feeling is of excitement and determination to achieve more.

“I always wanted to come to America and play High School Basketball at a higher level and Benedict’s felt like the best fit,” said UDII and Sweden international Musa Jeng.