Hansel Enmanuel’s early struggles have helped make him the star we see today
NATCHITOCHES, La. (KALB) - NSU’s Hansel Enmanuel was born to be a star but had some early problems along the way.
He was born in the Dominican Republic and grew up watching his dad play basketball, which pushed him to be on the court.
But, basketball did not solve every problem. Enmanuel said some nights he would go to bed hungry.
“I started from the bottom,” he said. “So, I know what it’s like not eating for a day.”
From there, more problems would start to pat, including him losing his arm at six years old. He was outside playing and a pile of bricks fell on his arm, which damaged his tendons so bad he had to get it amputated. That did not stop him from playing basketball. Instead, it pushed him to continue to follow his dream.
Enmanuel said that it was hard to keep his footing after the surgery.
“I didn’t have any balance,” said Enmanuel. “It was hard to keep my dribble and run at the same time, but I eventually got it down.”
Enmanuel never wanted to be treated differently, so in high school, the team had a rule: if you miss a layup in practice, you have to do 10 pushups. Enmanuel missed and did not hesitate to do the push-ups. He said that basketball is a team game and did not want to be singled out.
“I’m no different from anyone,” said Enmanuel. “I don’t need any special treatment. I missed the layup so I did the pushups.”
He really excelled in high school, averaging 26 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists a game. He had a few offers, including one from the University of Memphis where NBA Legend Penny Hardway is the head coach. But, Enmanuel said that a conversation with Demon’s Head Coach Corey Gipson made the decision easy.
“We had a connection,” said Enmanuel. “We talked about a lot of things on my visit, but what I really liked is how we connected on things besides basketball.”
Some players could not wait to see what he can do in person. Demons Point Guard Demarcus Sharp said the stuff he can do is unbelievable.
“To see it up close and personal amazes me,” said Sharp. ”He is going to be really good, all he has to do is continue working on his craft.”
Enmanuel’s life turned around completely and has inspired people from around the world. He said he never thought his story would have been this big.
“I didn’t think I would touch as many people as I did,” said Enmanuel. “I do want to be a positive inspiration like Lebron James and Muhammad Ali, that is one of my goals.”
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