On December 10th, teammates and fans of Northwestern State sounded their applause when their new freshmen basketball player scored his first points for the team.
It was an extra special applause for the point guard, since Hansel Emmanuel has only one arm.
A minute later he added to his total with a thunderous dunk in what became a 91-73 win over Louisiana-Monroe, bringing the crowd of 1,600 to their feet.
But this is far from the beginning of Hansel Emmanuel’s story: last year, ESPN was already reporting that college recruiting analysts were interested in the young man from the Dominican Republic.
Playing on a cinderblock wall when he was six, it collapsed under him, crushing his arm and necessitating amputation. But like all champion athletes, he never stopped working, never let anyone feel sorry for him, and soon began to create a major social media following with small clips of him playing street ball.
Emmanual’s father was a professional in the Dominican Republic, and the social media videos caught the attention of one of his father’s former teammates—the head coach at Life Christian Acadmey in Florida. He brought Emmanual over on a scholarship, and soon the one-armed guard won the state championship, bringing interest from college scouts.
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