Angelo Chol Focusing On Family, Basketball
June 7, 2009 - Colorado Springs, Colo.
Players pick jersey numbers for all sorts of reasons. Many choose to follow past or current greats, some keep a number that has been a family tradition and some just stick with a number that was given to them at a young age and wear it because they always have. Angelo Chol (Herbert Hoover HS / San Diego, Calif.), on the other hand, has a very special reason for wearing No. 3.
Chol says he has three people in his life who have helped shape the person that he is today and the person he continues to develop into.
-My coach is the one that helped me get this far in my basketball career, and he really cares about me so I really trust him," said Chol. -I have a godmother that I just got, because I never had like a real mom. So she's has been like the first real mom to me. My dad has been there since I was born and has just always been there for me, so those are the three most important people in my life."
Not only does Chol have a special story behind his number, he has a special story behind how he got to Colorado Springs for the USA Basketball Developmental National Team training. Born in Khartoum, Sudan, Chol and his family left the country when he was five for Egypt. His father wanted the best for him, and Chol says that led to them leaving the country.
Living half way across the world seems like a long time ago for Chol.
-I don't remember much about living in Sudan. I remember a little about Egypt," said Chol. -I remember going to school, and in Sudan I just remember hanging out with friends, but I probably wouldn't recognize them now."
Although Chol doesn't remember much, it has provided him with a unique perspective about life. Living in the United States provides an opportunity that many people around the world don't have, and it is inspiring that Chol has made it all the way here to represent his country. He is trying to use his opportunity to excel not only in basketball, but take advantage of opportunities that those close to him never had.
Perhaps the most incredible thing about Chol's presence in Colorado Springs this week is the fact that he just started playing basketball a few years ago. It often takes players years to fully develop the fundamentals necessary to play at such an elite level, and you can tell Chol has great potential to continue to improve his game as he gets more playing experience.
-In seventh grade, one of the coaches at the middle school just got me because I was tallest, and I didn't know anything about basketball. I liked it even though I wasn't any good at it. From there he introduced me to the high school coach, and I played for the freshman team as a 7th and 8th grader, and I just got better. I still have a lot to learn."
Chol was incredibly effective in his sophomore year of high school in 2008-09, nearly averaging a triple-double with 12.8 ppg., 13.2 rbg. and 9.6 rpg. He posted single-game bests of 23 points, 25 rebounds and 19 blocks, and set the all-time national prep record for blocked shots in a season with 337 in 35 games. He was named the CalHiSports.com 2009 California Sophomore of the Year after earning the San Diego Union-Tribune 2008 Newcomer of the Year as a freshman.
Chol hopes that later in life he can give back to the community so people who are less fortunate can have some of the opportunities that he sees in front of him now.
-One day I just want to give to the community and help the poor. If I can make money, that's what I want to do. It would make me happy to help others."