Basketball Brings Educational Opportunities

Onyekachi (Kachi) Nzeh ’23 has always been a talented athlete. His first sport was track and he proved himself competing in regional events and was selected to compete in the Junior Olympics running the 400 meters during eighth grade. He was set to continue and had dreams of competing as an adult in the Olympics, however, his body had other plans.

“I became 6’ 6” and it started becoming difficult and sore to run,” explained Kachi. “And I was still growing. I grew to 6’ 8” and felt I just had to try basketball. Basketball has always been a part of my life, but it was more for fun and hanging out with friends as I was so focused on becoming a track athlete. I went to my (public) school basketball coach and told him I wanted to play. He already had a team in place but could not ignore my height, so he gave me the opportunity. I demonstrated that I had skill and other coaches and people started noticing my talent. I was approached by several independent schools, but really connected with George School’s Coach Ben Luber. Ben cares about student-athletes and is as concerned about their academic success as much as their athletic success. That was really important to me. While I love the sport, I want to use it as a way to get a college scholarship and a good education so I can help my family—that is my ultimate goal. My father is supportive of me playing basketball and wants me to see how far it can take me, but he also always reminds me that what happens after basketball is just as important.”

When asked about the basketball program at George School, Kachi said, “Coach Ben is building up the program and looking for students who take it seriously, want to improve, and will put in extra effort to develop into stronger players. He will give you the hard truth and then it’s up to you to make your decisions. I had to take time to learn the rules and techniques of basketball as I am still new to the game and want to work hard to keep improving.

Every morning I wake up at 4:30 a.m. so I can mentally prepare for practice at 6:00 a.m. I understand the level of dedication it will take for me to be successful. Kobe Bryant is the athlete I most admire—his discipline, his skill as a player, and his behavior off the court. He is my role model and I want to be like him, inspire others, and make a difference. I wish I could have had an opportunity to meet and be mentored by him, but I study his games a lot and I have Coach Ben who is like another parent to me and I know he will always be there to support me.”

With regards to life at George School outside of basketball, Kachi comments, “starting George School this fall in the middle of a pandemic was a bit strange. I was nervous about boarding, but George School is welcoming and everyone in Orton dorm cares about who you are and how you are. I do miss my family and can’t wait to see my parents, older brother, and two younger sisters as we love being together and talking, but the transition was easy so I have not felt too sad. I think it has been harder on my family.

The academics at George School are more intense, but my prefects and friends have all told me that you can’t put off work, you need to be disciplined and make sure the work is completed on time. Thankfully, George School has a great learning center which has helped me get organized and manage my time. Teachers are willing to help if you show you are serious and want to learn. Everyone wants you to succeed and the support is available.”

Kachi is very modest. Harvard, Princeton, and the University of Michigan have shown interest in his talent. As a sophomore he has already received a full scholarship offer from Siena College in NY. When asked about this, Kachi replied, “It is nice to be noticed, but you can’t let it affect you or take it for granted. That’s why I value having Coach Ben beside me to guide me through this process. He knows that my ultimate goal is to get a good education and play in the NBA.”

While it is unclear what the basketball season will look like this year, Kachi will be here for two more years, so come watch him and the basketball team play if you have an opportunity. They would love your support.