TULSA, Oklahoma - “I grew up in the Congo; it's totally different than America,” said Tulsa basketball’s Junior Etou. “Coming to the States was really different."

For Junior Etou, the chance to play college basketball was too big to pass up.

"It was tough leaving my family,” he said. “My mom didn't want me to come here by myself, but that's what I wanted to do."

But for him and Hurricane Freshman Forward Martins Igbanu, who grew up in Nigeria, basketball was just another sport they had in mind.

"Before playing basketball, I was a soccer player,” Igbanu stated. “But, after a while, soccer just got too easy. So, I was like, let me try something new." He added, "I used to play soccer, but then I was getting a little too tall and they asked me if I wanted to play basketball. When I started playing I fell in love with it."

Igbanu's brother got him into hoops at age 14. "It was terrible,” he said. “We didn't know what we were doing, but I was like, you know what, this is fun."

Etou had his cousin, former Oklahoma City Thunder player, Serge Ibaka to look up to in the world of basketball. That helped with his transition to High School ball in America.

Now Etou and Igbanu are making big contributions to TU.

Igbanu has seen his minutes increase during conference play, and Etou has averaged a double-double of 17 points and 10 rebounds in the Golden Hurricane’s last five games. 

Coach Frank Haith has a lot of confidence in Etou's potential.

"He believes in me,” said Etou. “He knows what I'm capable of, and I believe in myself."