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Hungry for Success

Teniola Aliu’s journey began when he escaped an unjust and corrupt government in Lagos, Nigeria. He played in the Nigerian major league basketball team and is now trying to become a guard for the SAIT Trojans basketball team for their next season.

Aliu, 20, grew up in Lagos and currently studies Information Technology at SAIT, Aliu said SAIT has the best college basketball team in the country. He said he would love to play alongside other SAIT Trojan players so he can make history with them.

SAIT student Teniola Aliu poses for a photo at the SAIT gym in Calgary on Monday, March 18, 2019. Aliu will be trying out for the Trojans basketball team in April. (Photo by Brandon Peniuk/SAIT)

Prior to coming to Canada, Aliu played three years of major league basketball. “I wanted to be a soccer player before I saw basketball.”

“People from my community built a basketball court on my street, and one day, I just sat down to watch a game.”

“I used to be intimidated by the Nigerian basketball players because they carried themselves with confidence,” explained Aliu.

“I used to envy the players quite a bit,” Aliu said dunking is what brought him into basketball. The first time he saw someone dunk, it amazed him how the player flew to the hoop with physical power. His interest was sparked from there.

“Basketball in Nigeria is a lot rougher than basketball in Canada,” said Aliu. He said basketball players in Africa are known for their physical appearance. “There are hardly any fouls called.”

“Taking hard hits gives off the impression that you’re stronger than you appear.” He said a lot of players are really fit, and that his size, frame, and strength give him an advantage on the court compared to most players.

His dream is to play in the NBA, and his previous coach pushed him to work harder to achieve this goal. Aliu said he has always looked up to Derrick Rose, a point guard for the Minnesota Timberwolves.

 Aliu explained he picked SAIT because his sister, Simisola Aliu, who has a master’s degree in electrical engineering and was his sponsor to get into Canada sister told him that it is the best choice for his future.

“I believe I’m very close to what any team would be looking for in a tryout session.”

SAIT student Teniola Aliu poses for a photo at the SAIT gym in Calgary on Monday, March 18, 2019. Aliu will be trying out for the Trojans basketball team in April.(Photo by Brandon Peniuk/SAIT)

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