Basketball opens door to a better life for TJC Apache - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

Basketball opens door to a better life for TJC Apache

Daniel Edozie is living the American Dream. World's away from where his journey began.

Born in London, Daniel and his mother moved to the United States when he was 11 years old. They came to the U.S. With high hopes and little else.

"My mother probably did feel like if she came here she could do better than she did in London," Edozie said.  "It seemed like no doors were open. There was no where to go."

After taking a bus from Boston to Las Vegas, Daniel and his mother were left with no money and no home.

Sleeping in the park, moving from shelter to shelter, The Edozie's eventually ended up in downtown Los Angeles.

"Dope dealers, crack heads, drug dealers," Edozie recalled.  "You name it, they were there."

By age 12, Edozie had to become a man, when his mother deserted him.

"I'm 12 years old roaming the streets, no one to depend on," he said.  "No one to help me or provide for me."

Police couldn't find his mother, and Edozie was placed in a foster home, where he would spend the next six years of his life.  Edozie would eventually find his mother, but remained in foster care.

Back in school, He touched a basketball for the very first time.

"My first year of basketball in seventh grade, I was bad," Edozie said.  "My second year, by eighth grade I was getting better."

Edozie would steadily improve into high school. He was a raw talent, but TJC head coach Mike Marquis gave Edozie a shot.

The basketball recruit wanted out of Los Angeles so badly, he signed with TJC, without taking a single visit.

"I love it here (TJC)," said Edozie.  "It's a great place. A great environment and staff. I have a lot friends here."

His coach says there's much more to Edozie, than basketball.

"He's a terrific student and a fabulous piano player," said Marquis.  "He's got a lot going for him besides basketball. But basketball is his avenue to get his education and he's been able to use that avenue so far."

Edozie has made the most of his time in Tyler. The TJC sophomore has signed with Iowa State, where he will continue his basketball career next fall. He's The first Apache to sign with a Big 12 school since 2008.

"I could have took a bad path," said Edozie.  "Been part of drugs and gang banging. I chose to do it the right way."

His coach is proud to have been a small part of the journey.

"What a credit to him and the person he's become that persevered through so many obstacles to get to where he's at now," said Marquis.  "And now to be close to his dream of playing division one basketball."

All the nights he went hungry. All the nights without a bed. Edozie says he wouldn't change a thing.

"It has led me to who I am today," he said.  "It's taught me that no matter what battle you face, you have to find a way to overcome it."

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