Moses Kingsley can tell you the exact date he started playing basketball.
August 27, 2007.
Since picking up the game in his native country of Nigeria, the 6’9 Kingsley has grown to love the sport, bringing his talents to New Albany this year.
“He’s brought a lot of things to the program,” Bulldogs’ head coach Brad Gray said. “First off, he’s 6’9, which always helps, but he works hard and plays hard. He’s a pretty skilled player, but I think his best attribute is his attitude and the type of kid he is.”
An exchange student classified as a sophomore, Kingsley takes nothing for granted, as he has enjoyed his time since coming to the U.S., as well as the opportunity to receive a quality education while growing as a basketball player.
“The biggest difference is that here, we play in a gym. In Nigeria, we play outdoors,” he said.
“What I like most of all is being in class. It’s the best place to be. Second place to be is in practice and third place to be is at home, relaxing. But most of all, I like being in class. I love the teachers, and I want to learn, and they want to teach me. It’s the best experience for me.”
Kingsley has made several adjustments moving to Mississippi, the biggest being the time difference from Nigeria as well as being away from his family and friends.
“The U.S. is six hours behind, so now when I’m in class, I’m normally asleep, and that was hard to adjust to at first,” he explained. “The first few days, I couldn’t sleep, but gradually, I have adjusted. The weather is also different and my family is not here, but I have a family here that’s taking care of me.”
Basketball is not his only forte, as, like most Nigerians, he grew up playing soccer. Kingsley hopes to become an asset for the Bulldogs on the soccer field as well, planning to play in roughly six games this season.
“In Nigeria, what we do is, when we grow up, we play soccer, like how everyone here plays football,” Kingsley said. “Everyone knows how to play soccer in Nigeria. I’m good at keeping, goalie. I plan to play some this year when it does not conflict with basketball.”
And what he has enjoyed the most is the instant popularity he has received from the New Albany community.
“When I first got over here, I realized that everyone loved me,” he said, smiling. “That’s what I love about being here. My teammates love me, and everyone loves me, and I appreciate that welcome.”
Gray agrees with the response Kingsley has received, citing his infectious attitude as a plus for his program.
“He’s a genuinely good kid, very pleasant to be around, never complains,” he said. “He’s a real pleasure to coach, and I think he fits in real well with our kids because we have a lot of kids like that.”
Kingsley and the Bulldogs will begin their 2010 campaign on Monday night, traveling to Ingomar.