May 28, 2024

Tobi Ewuosho, a Nigerian-American, was highlighted in a recent publication on reboundNG.com among the top Nigerian players signing new contracts.

Dive into an all-encompassing interview where Tobi Ewuosho shares insights into his life—both on and off the court—discussing the motivations behind his recent contract and its impact, alongside his goals and aspirations.

This exclusive read is presented by ReboundNG, the premier hub for basketball information in Naija.

RN: COULD YOU TELL US A BIT ABOUT YOUR EARLY YEARS & HOW YOU FIRST GOT INTO PLAYING BASKETBALL?

TE: Early on I wasn’t immediately attracted to basketball. As a kid my parents put me in all sports; Tee Ball, flag football, soccer, basketball, track & field etc.

I can recall being 6 or 7yrs old and playing basketball for a local park district team. That’s my earliest memory of myself and a basketball.

tobi Ewuosho

RN: WHO WERE SOME OF YOUR EARLY INFLUENCES OR ROLE MODELS IN THE WORLD OF BASKETBALL?

TE: There were many influences and role models early on for me. Loyola Park and Chase Park are the two gyms that I first played basketball in definitely.

Before understanding the game fully and even before I started watching the NBA; I would say my earliest basketball role models were Ramon Ajose, Nick Flowers and Teandre Dailey.

Eventually as I started watching the NBA; Derrick Rose and Lebron James were huge role models of mine.

tobi Ewuosho

Read More on Tobi Ewuosho New Contract here

RN: WHAT WAS THE TURNING POINT OR SIGNIFICANT MOMENT IN YOUR YOUTH THAT MADE YOU REALIZE YOU WANTED TO PURSUE A CAREER IN PROFESSIONAL BASKETBALL?

TE: Probably the summer before high school was when I realized I really loved basketball and wanted to take it seriously.

Participating in a summer camp at Whitney Young with a close friend of mine, Julian Tellez and from there I knew I had a strong passion for the game.

I didn’t realize I wanted to be a professional basketball player or that it was even possible until much later in high school when my coach Terry Mister told me I had the potential to get paid to play the game.

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RN: CAN YOU SHARE ANY CHALLENGES OR OBSTACLES YOU FACED ON YOUR JOURNEY TO BECOMING A PRO PLAYER?

TE: There were so many challenges and obstacles along the way the almost detected me from becoming a pro.

Challenges still suffice to this day, but I’d say the pandemic was the biggest challenge. I came out of college in 2020 and they cancelled our school year and basketball season.

I was fortunate to be contacted by many agents and agencies but with no idea what the European market and NBA season would do, so it was hard for rookies and vets alike.

To this day I think if it wasn’t for the pandemic, my career would be in a completely different position but everything happens for a reason Allah knows best and I’m grateful for it all.

RN: SO HOW WAS TOBI EWUOSHO ABLE TO BALANCE HIS EDUCATION WITH HIS BASKETBALL ASPIRATIONS DURING FORMATIVE YEARS?

TE: Early on it was hard to find balance and I think that’s why I would consider myself a late bloomer.

My parents (rightfully so) stressed education on me in middle and high school.

So while my peers were playing AAU and having trainers to help develop their game I was in the IB Program from 6th grade until Junior year of high school.

The stress from academics was beginning to be too much for me to handle along with playing varsity basketball so eventually I was forced to drop down from IB courses to only AP and honors courses which was much easier to handle and manage.

RN: WERE THERE ANY SPECIFIC COACHES OR MENTORS WHO PLAYED A PIVOTAL ROLE IN YOUR DEVELOPMENT AS A BASKETBALL PLAYER?

TE: There were so many coaches and mentors who helped my development as a hooper.

I’d say Terry Mister was the first coach I think he pushed me and spoke to me about being played to play the game so that was crucial to my confidence and future.

My college coaches at ASU did a great job during my years there to help me develop and achieve my goals.

Lewis Jackson and Steve Rogers were former NBA draft picks so I took a lot of knowledge about the game from them.

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Tyrone Levitt my assistant coach played overseas for many years as well so he would always give me tips on how to stand out.

tobi Ewuosho

During my college years I was introduced by Terry Mister to two trainers who I trained exclusively with; Chuck George, Demarko Nash and so I can credit so many of the skills I developed later in my college career to the countless hours and workouts we had through my time in JUCO and at the Division 1 level.

tobi Ewuosho

RN: WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE BASKETBALL-RELATED MEMORY FROM YOUR CHILDHOOD OR TEENAGE YEARS?

TE: My favorite basketball related memories would be the time spent with team mates in AAU or during the regular season.

Bus rides, locker room moments, hotels, flights times like that you don’t get back and I’m thankful and very appreciative that I was able to be around a great group of guys year in and year out.

RN: HOW HAS YOUR BACKGROUND AND UPBRINGING INFLUENCED YOUR APPROACH TO THE GAME AND YOUR CAREER AS A WHOLE?

TE: I hail from a Nigerian background, being a second-generation Nigerian American with both my parents raised in Nigeria.

The strength of discipline and resilience I possess owes much to my heritage.

While I can’t say it’s inherent in all Nigerians, my parents instilled in me a strong work ethic, a trait I often see reflected across the sports and creative realms among many Nigerians.

Growing up in Chicago a basketball hotspot particularly in the Midwest shaped my approach to the game both in my youth and now.

Driven by a constant need to prove myself and honor those who support me, this is what fuels and propels me forward especially on days when motivation may be lacking.

I think about what I want out of my career and my future and I’m disciplined enough to put the work in to achieve it. The goals, the respect I aspire from basketball all of it can be credited to how I was raised.

RN: CAN YOU GIVE US SOME INSIGHTS INTO THE LOCAL BASKETBALL SCENE IN YOUR HOMETOWN AND HOW IT CONTRIBUTED TO YOUR GROWTH AS A PLAYER?

TE: TOUGH. Chicago basketball is very tough. So many legends have come out the city, so it’s easy to forget names when mentioning the greats.

From park districts, to inner school High School games in neighborhoods, were all kids had was basketball to make it out, it’s easy to see how I was molded into the player I am today.

When you play in places surrounded by violence and danger, the basketball court becomes an outlet or sanctuary for one to express themselves and forget about the other worldly stressors and pressure.

If I didn’t play those pick up games in east Rogers park at Loyola Park or in uptown at Chase Park I wouldn’t be the player I am today. Chicago public league games on Chicago’s west and south side in the trenches will really make you a man.

It makes playing in Europe in cold gyms with crazy fans seem like nothing because I’ve dealt with hostile environments since I was young.

RN: CONGRATULATIONS ONCE AGAIN ON YOUR NEW CONTRACT! HOW DOES IT FEEL TO BE A PART OF YOUR NEW TEAM FOR THE UPCOMING SEASON?

TE: Thank you! It always is a blessing to have a new deal secured for the same. I always have to thank God because it could have been worse. I’m excited and ready to compete.

RN: WHAT ARE YOUR PERSONAL GOALS AND EXPECTATIONS FOR THE UPCOMING SEASON WITH YOUR NEW CONTRACT IN PLACE?

TE: My goals are pretty routine every year. To win and be the best player I can be. As the seasons progress goals change and become more realistic or likely.

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But as of right now my goal is to win every game and to continue to grow as a player being consistent and efficient.

I expect myself to grow as a player from last season raising my personal numbers and proving myself right and making my people proud.

RN: HOW DO YOU SEE YOUR ROLE EVOLVING WITHIN THE TEAM WITH THIS NEW CONTRACT?

TE: My role this season is a little different from last year but as the season evolves and I gain the trust of my coaches and teammates I just hope my role can continue to expand and lead to having a positive impact on our team.

RN: CAN YOU SHARE SOME INSIGHTS INTO THE IMPROVEMENTS YOU’VE MADE IN YOUR GAME DURING THE OFF-SEASON?

I prefer keeping the specifics between my trainer Tae, and myself. But generally, my aim has been to enhance the range and consistency of my jump shot while refining my ball-handling skills.

Perfecting these aspects is an ongoing journey, so I dedicate my focus to them whenever I sense the need for improvement.

tobi Ewuosho

RN: WHAT KIND OF IMPACT DO YOU THINK THIS NEW CONTRACT WILL HAVE ON YOUR CAREER, BOTH ON AND OFF THE COURT?

TE: I think every season is a season to prove yourself right and gain the respect of the international basketball world.

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So a good season will impact my career positively as next year teams will want me for a great role on the court and hopefully a greater salary off the court.

That’s what it’s about having people “want” you and “respect” you enough to pay you what you believe you’re worth.

RN: WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR YOUNG ATHLETES ASPIRING TO REACH THE PROFESSIONAL LEVEL IN BASKETBALL?

TE: It’s cliche but the best advice I could give is to live life and work hard. Keep faith and prove yourself right.

Don’t worry about proving people wrong only worry about getting better everyday and being happy with your choices.

If you keep faith and work I think everything else will work out. But you can’t do one without the other.

Which is why I say live life as well because you need to be happy in order to play well so in my opinion living your life is part of the journey.

But I can’t stress enough that you have to keep faith because it will get dark and it will get slow, but when you’re faithful to the game and yourself it always works out.

RN: HOW IMPORTANT IS THE SUPPORT OF YOUR FAMILY, FRIENDS, AND FANS IN YOUR JOURNEY TO THIS POINT IN YOUR CAREER?

TE: Extremely!! You can’t do anything without your circle, and of course without God.

I pray everyday for my family and friends well being because without them I wouldn’t be where I am, or who I am as a man or basketball player.

I talk to my immediate family daily and I’ve even had family and friends visit me in Europe these past two seasons.

It gets lonely so having people tell you they’re proud of you and that they’re watching means a lot.

You can’t underestimate how important it is to hear “I’m proud of you” “I miss you” “I love you” when you feel like you’re out here alone.

The fans in each city do their best to make you feel loved and appreciated and I’m eternally grateful for that.

I’ve been on good teams and bad teams but when fans show up constantly to support or when they write me on social media I love it! I always try my best to respond and let them know I appreciate the love and support always!!

RN: WHAT MESSAGE DO YOU HAVE FOR THE FANS OF YOUR NEW TEAM WHO ARE EXCITED ABOUT YOUR NEW CONTRACT?

TE: I would just tell them that I’m going to give it my all every time I’m on the court.

It’s easy to see when you watch me play that I play hard and I play to the best of my ability every single time.

I don’t take short cuts and I put in extra work behind the scenes to make sure I’m always putting out the best version of myself when it’s game time.

RN: ARE THERE ANY SPECIFIC GAMES OR MATCHUPS IN THE UPCOMING SEASON THAT YOU’RE LOOKING FORWARD TO?

TE: Not really. I don’t hold any extra weight to individual games and as hard as it is I try to live and stay in the moment.

I have some friends in the league so I guess those matchups are always special but no games make me more eager than another.

I guess I would say I’m looking forward to playing in the playoffs and the cup final 4 like I did last year. I want to have a good showing there.

RN: HOW DO YOU PLAN TO MAINTAIN YOUR PHYSICAL AND MENTAL CONDITIONING THROUGHOUT THE SEASON?

TE: Physically I just address my needs. I listen to my body, if I need to lift more, rest more, eat more, run more, shoot more etc. I just do what i need to do, on an as-needed basis.

I have a daily recovery and “extra” work routine that I do to ensure that I’m always feeling good and healthy.

Then I just pay attention to any other needs that I need to address.

Mentally I try to only focus on things that make me happy. Family, friends, my tv shows, movies etc.

I divide my time to things that make me happy and I pray A LOT. I can’t stress enough how my faith has gotten me through so many tough times.

I think I’m mentally conditioned because of that. I try to pray for happiness and peace because with that I can tackle any other challenges I may come in contact with during the season.

RN: WHAT’S YOUR ULTIMATE CAREER GOAL IN BASKETBALL, AND HOW DOES THIS NEW CONTRACT FIT INTO THAT VISION?

TE: My ultimate goal in basketball is to play at the highest level I can play at, and have the respect globally as a basketball player.

This new contract is just a step towards that goal. I perform well here, gain a little more respect then i perform next year gain some more respect and so on and so forth.

Doing that will make me happy and hopefully make my pockets happy too. Then I can take care of those I love the most.

RN: Many Thanks Tobi for your time, and we wish you the best season yet.

TE: Thanks.

We hope you had a great time reading through this exclusive piece onTobi Ewuosho.

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