Monday night, basketball did exactly that when Obokoh committed to play under Jim Boeheim at Syracuse next winter. "It's so big," Obokoh said. "I didn't expect all this to happen."
Obokoh raved about the Syracuse coaching staff, including both Jim Boeheim and big-man specialist Mike Hopkins. He spoke highly of the players he met. "I think they have one of the best programs in the country," Obokoh said.
Obokoh's family still mostly lives in Nigeria, but he does have some extended family--aunts, uncles and even a cousin who played in the WNBA--who live in the United States. "They are so happy," Obokoh said. "In terms of basketball and stuff, they don't know anything about it much. But they are so happy I'm getting the kind of education they want me to get."
Obokoh's NBA heroes are Kevin Garnett and Hakeem Olajuwon, but when it came to his NBA dreams, Obokoh seemed to treat them like an other-worldly experience. His eyes glossed over a bit and there wasn't much concern whether or not an NBA career happened.
When the conversation turned to his education at Syracuse, Obokoh was focused. He knows his major--accounting--and was more enthusiastic about that part of his experience in college.
Obokoh's high school coach Jon Boon said that is no act. "He's a great kid. Ever since he's been here, he's always been very focused on getting his education," Boon said.
Basketball isn't the only skill that's improved during his time at Kearney. Boon says Obokoh has embraced fitting into American culture and developing his English skills.
"He's worked extremely hard," Boon said. "For him to stand here in front of you guys and talk... he couldn't have done that three years ago when he got here."
Like any kid going to Syracuse to play basketball, Obokoh couldn't be more excited. "It's a dream," he said. "Something too good to pass up."