European prospect shoots for Highline

By Donnie Moore - Staff Reporter

Highline men's basketball could possibly gain a new recruit from Belgium.

Gedeon Gekamba, 19, stands at 6'6, and hopes to join the men's basketball team. Born in Democratic Republic of the Congo, Gekamba has a great passion for basketball.

 "I feel good and I love this game. I feel good when I play basketball," Gekamba said. 

Gekamba, moved from the Congo to Europe at the age of 9 and has lived much of his life in Belgium. Growing up in general, Gekamba was always an avid soccer player and enjoyed playing sports.

"I love sports. I played soccer since I was young, I still love it," Gekamba said. 

His passion for basketball came after he suffered a minor injury to his knee which kept him from soccer. He saw basketball as an opportunity to continue in sports after his injury.   

"It was nothing too big, [but] I could not play at the same level after suffering it, I was playing at a high level of soccer at the time, so why not start another thing?" Gekamba said about his injury and switching from soccer to basketball.

Gekamba says that he gets his inspiration from watching American basketball and trying to learn from them. 

"The NBA stars, I love to see them play, [I asked] why not? I could do that, so I did," Gekamba said. 

He came to Highline because of a famly connection. While in Belgium he brought up the idea of coming to America to play basketball to his mother, who then put him in touch with her brother, Moise Shutsha, who before then Gekamba had barely known.   

"I didn't talk to him much when I was in Belgium. When I said to my mom I want to go to America she said 'All right, my brother [is] in the US, you can go to him.' He has become a father figure to me," Gekamba said.    

He wanted to travel to America because he thought that if he wanted to play on a high level, he had to go where basketball was taken more seriously.  

"I want to improve my game at Highline, because when I was in Belgium and France different clubs came to see me. They wanted me to play with them but my mom and my parents said it was too early for me and I wanted to come to the US to improve my game and see what happens," Gekamba said. 

 Gekamba said he feels that with an opportunity to play at Highline, he could possibly go far with a career in basketball. 

"I have a lot to learn in basketball. I started playing basketball two years ago. I improved my game so much a big team came to me. I think I can improve my game again, so I have to try and see what happens," Gekamba said. "If it doesn't work here I can find something in Europe."

So far, Gekamba's transition from playing basketball in Europe, to now hopefully playing in America, has been easy but there are things he says he still needs to get used to. 

"In America it is more of a spectacle, in France they care more about the fundamentals," said Gekamba.  

He could be on the Highline court this winter. Men's basketball Head Coach Che Dawson is open to any new players joining the team.

"It is possible to have a new, eligible player join the team after the Fall Quarter is over. It is not something we do very often." Dawson said.

He is positive about his chance to succeed in basketball, but he says that he still tries to stay true to his values.    

"Be ambitious. Do whatever it takes to get what you want, respect people who teach you and help you and give back when you are successful " Gekamba said.  "And without god we are nothing."

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