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SK Shittu Adapting To Life In America

ROGERS (KFSM)--SK Shittu moved from Nigeria to America in 2013. The transition was filled with hope and pain.

"It's very hard, I miss my family and the foods and stuff," Shittu said.

Thanks to the benevolence of Providence Academy coach Austin Bivens, the Nigerian finally feels at home. "We have him at our house, have for four years and he's genuinely family. We love him, my boys gave up their own bed to have SK," Bivens said.

Culture shock is an understatement of what Shittu went through upon arrival. "The first night he got here to our house he said 'Sir, when does the lights go off?' I said 'What?' He said 'Well in Nigeria they turn the power off at night'," Bivens recalled.

"When I first got here I usually just put mayonnaise on bread and eat it. But right now I can eat pizza, chili dogs. Chili dogs used to be my worst food but now it's one of my favorite. I [also] call my Mom and Skype them on Skype and stuff to let them know I'm doing fine here, so I'm adjusting very well," said Shittu.

Basketball was not always the obvious choice for the 6'9" senior. Like many Nigerians, Shittu grew up with a different sport. "I'm pretty good at being a striker in soccer. When I got here in 2013 I only had a year and a half [of basketball] experience so I probably started at 13."

"He had not played much basketball, maybe 12-15 months. He transitioned from soccer," said Bivens.

Shittu is committed to play at Central Arkansas, and aims to use basketball for something greater. "Make basketball my occupation and make a little bit of money obviously, and take care of my mom, family and people around me. So everyone can be happy," Shittu said.

Bivens is hopeful that SK can, "Provide for his family, they're very poor back in Nigeria. No running water or indoor plumbing and he never complains about that."

Shittu continues to chase his dream, all so his family can lead a better life.