Sports | From Nigeria to Gainesville: The Improbable Journey of New Florida Big Man Rueben Chinyelu |

Ibidun Allison emerged from her car at a bustling market in Lagos, Nigeria, and was immediately swarmed by eager vendors. “Mommy, mommy, come buy from me!” they shouted. “Buy from me!”

An actress then in her seventies, Allison peered out at the group and saw one figure towering above the rest. 

His name was Rueben Chinyelu.

He was 14 years old and stood around 6-8.

Allison couldn’t believe her eyes. What was this boy doing here? Why was he selling clothes? She maneuvered through the crowd to find him. 

“Do you play basketball?” she asked Chinyelu.

He smiled and laughed, as he did every other time someone asked him that question. 

“I’m serious,” Allison said. “You could go to school playing basketball. You could further your education.”

This caught Chinyelu’s attention. The idea of playing basketball had never been framed to him in this way—as a possible ticket to a better education. And for some reason, it struck a different chord coming from Allison. Chinyelu had never played basketball before in his life. But suddenly, he felt compelled to pursue it. “I just think everything happens on God’s timing,” he says.

That was the summer of 2018. Six years later, Chinyelu is a 6-11 rising sophomore at the University of Florida. He transferred from Washington State University, where he played in all 35 games last season and finished fourth in the Pac-12 in blocks.

Growing up in the eastern region of Nigeria, Chinyelu was six years old when he lost his father. His mother raised him and his three older sisters, emphasizing discipline and education above all else. Chinyelu didn’t play any sports as a kid—not even soccer, which is by far the most popular sport in Nigeria. Instead, he focused entirely on his schoolwork and dreamed of one day becoming a doctor.

Everything changed that afternoon in 2018 when Allison, whom Chinyelu now refers to as his grandma, walked into his brother-in-law’s shop. Less than a week later, Chinyelu went to the National Stadium to register to join Raptors Basketball Academy. Despite his inexperience and rail-thin frame, he made an immediate impression on his new coach, Charles Ibeziakor. 

“I saw something that was different from the other boys that come to learn basketball,” Ibeziakor says. “I saw that this guy is going to be a potential player, a prospect, because of his hard work. He did not relent.”

Chinyelu’s discipline carried over from academics to basketball. If I’m doing this, I’m all in, he told himself. The team practiced Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to noon during the summer, but Chinyelu would come to the court at 6 a.m. for extra work. He trained individually with Ibeziakor every Sunday and watched tutorials on YouTube to tackle the fundamentals. Soon, his dream was to make it to the NBA.

Within a year, Chinyelu was picked to represent Nigeria in the 2019 FIBA U16 African Championship. He averaged 12.3 points and 17.6 rebounds (best in the tournament) to help his team place third. “He was one of the best,” says Ibeziakor. “From there, I knew that this guy was going to go places.”

Even before his debut for the junior national team, Chinyelu received interest from high schools throughout the United States, but his request for a visa was denied by the embassy. Eight times. And Chinyelu never really found out why. He was hurt, but undeterred. He just had to find a new path. “If I cry or get mad about it, I’m just doubling the problem,” he says. “I just never doubted myself.”

Coach Ibeziakor is also a scout for NBA Academy Africa, an elite basketball training center in Saly, Senegal. The Academy was established in 2017 to provide top high school-age prospects from across the continent with the tools necessary to pursue a future in the sport. Chinyelu arrived in 2021, having gotten much stronger after working out at home during the pandemic. He now had access to state-of-the-art facilities and was surrounded by the best young players in Africa, all of whom shared his ambition to reach the next level. In the school’s multi-purpose room, where the students eat, watch TV and socialize, pictures of African players who have made it to the NBA adorn the walls—a constant reminder of the goal they are all chasing.

With expert guidance from staff members such as technical director Roland Houston and head coach Alfred Aboya, Chinyelu improved dramatically at the Academy. “They have plays. Back home, we don’t have plays,” Chinyelu describes. “Just go play basketball, catch the rebound, pass the ball, make baskets. It was different getting breakdowns, extra workouts, when to work out, how to maintain your sleep. In the Academy, they didn’t just teach us about basketball—they taught us how to be a basketball player and also how to be a man. Because it all works together.”

Chinyelu founded the “6:00 a.m. Club” with Coach Aboya, a morning workout ritual that his teammates, who typically reported to the gym closer to 7:00 a.m., eventually joined. “He’s a tireless worker,” says Aboya. “He will bug you to work him out.”

The Academy competes in exhibitions and showcases across the globe, and Chinyelu also participated in the 2022-23 Basketball Africa League (BAL) season, averaging 5.4 points and 7.9 rebounds for Stade Malien. Since he started so late, his game—particularly on offense—is still being polished, but Chinyelu always brings energy and intensity. He becomes “a different person” on the court, according to former Academy teammate Seifeldin Hendawy. “Rueben’s game is so emotional,” Hendawy, an incoming freshman at Loyola Chicago, continues. “Super aggressive. When he comes between the lines, he just forgets everything. He doesn’t care. He’ll be dunking on people, destroying rims.”

Hendawy remembers one game of full-court two-on-two when Chinyelu “just went crazy” battling against fellow Nigerian and current Louisville big man Emmanuel Okorafor. The trash talk was flowing and the match-up was becoming increasingly physical. At one point, Chinyelu threw down a vicious dunk and let out a scream so powerful that it startled Hendawy and other spectators. “The gym was shaking,” Hendawy recalls with a chuckle. Houston eventually had to interject to settle things down a bit. “I’m him, Coach!” Chinyelu hollered at Houston, pounding his chest. “I’m him!”

That image stands in stark contrast to Chinyelu off the floor. He is soft-spoken, polite and eloquent, his comments peppered with the same sort of inspirational phrases that are taped up in classrooms at the Academy.

“Rome wasn’t built in a day.”

“The easy road is not always the way.”

“The only thing I can control is the present.”

“I know that something that is meant to happen is definitely going to happen.”

He has a calming presence that one could easily foresee translating into an excellent bedside manner. While his main objective remains to make it to the NBA, Chinyelu is also studying to become a dentist and plans to take summer classes to finish school should he leave early for the draft. 

Chinyelu joins a talented Florida squad (slotted at No. 20 in ESPN’s current rankings) and should assume a much bigger role this season after averaging just 13.8 minutes per game for Washington State. The Gators have several solid frontcourt options, but Chinyelu is projected to start at center. He arrived on campus at the beginning of June following a brief trip back to Africa, during which he visited family in Nigeria and caught the BAL Finals in Rwanda.

Watching him today, his first coach, Ibeziakor, is not surprised by the player Chinyelu has become. “Because I know the kind of person that Rueben is,” he says. “I know that Rueben will work extra to get there—to play in the NBA. And I believe that he will play [there] one day.”

Photos via Getty Images.

The post From Nigeria to Gainesville: The Improbable Journey of New Florida Big Man Rueben Chinyelu appeared first on SLAM.

 Ibidun Allison emerged from her car at a bustling market in Lagos, Nigeria, and was immediately swarmed by eager vendors. “Mommy, mommy, come buy from me!” they shouted. “Buy from me!” An actress then in her seventies, Allison peered out at the group and saw one figure towering above the rest.  His name was Rueben
The post From Nigeria to Gainesville: The Improbable Journey of New Florida Big Man Rueben Chinyelu appeared first on SLAM. The Magazine, Feature 1, Rueben Chinyelu, Washington Cougars Your Ultimate Destination for Beauty Products, Viral News, and Trendy Videos

In the vast and dynamic world of the internet, few platforms manage to combine the allure of beauty products with the excitement of viral news and videos. has successfully achieved this blend, emerging as a premier destination for Amazon affiliate products, especially in the cosmetics and beauty sector, while also captivating audiences with trending news and YouTube videos. This article delves into the essence of, exploring its main and secondary purposes, and understanding why it has become a go-to site for a diverse audience.

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Beyond just listing products, provides in-depth reviews and recommendations. Each product review includes detailed descriptions, pros and cons, user ratings, and personal insights. This thorough analysis helps users make informed decisions, knowing the strengths and weaknesses of each product before making a purchase.

c. Trends and Innovations in Beauty

Keeping up with the ever-evolving beauty industry, also highlights the latest trends and innovations. From groundbreaking skincare ingredients to the newest makeup techniques, the site offers readers a window into what’s hot in the beauty world. This focus on trends not only keeps the content fresh and relevant but also positions the site as a thought leader in the beauty industry.

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a. Interactive Features

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b. Social Media Integration

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c. User-Generated Content also encourages users to contribute content, whether it’s through reviews, tutorials, or beauty tips. This user-generated content adds authenticity and diversity to the site, as real users share their genuine experiences and insights.

The Secondary Purpose: Trending News and Viral YouTube Videos

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In addition to its primary focus on beauty products, offers a wide range of trending news articles. This secondary purpose adds an element of excitement and variety, attracting users who are interested in current events and viral stories.

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c. In-Depth Analysis

Beyond just reporting the news, offers in-depth analysis and commentary. This added layer of insight helps readers understand the implications of news stories and engage with the content on a deeper level.

2. The Power of Viral YouTube Videos

YouTube has become a powerhouse of content, with millions of videos uploaded daily. taps into this vast resource by featuring viral YouTube videos that captivate and entertain its audience.

a. Curated Video Content

The site curates a selection of the most popular and trending YouTube videos, ensuring that users have access to the best content. Whether it’s a hilarious meme, a heartwarming story, or a thought-provoking documentary,’s video section has something for everyone.

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The seamless integration of beauty content with trending news and viral videos sets apart from other affiliate sites. This balance ensures that users have a well-rounded experience, with plenty of variety to keep them engaged.

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The Future of

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3. Increased Focus on Video Content

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Conclusion has successfully established itself as a unique and dynamic platform that combines the allure of beauty products with the excitement of trending news and viral videos. Its focus on Amazon affiliate products, particularly in the cosmetics and beauty sector, provides users with a trusted source for high-quality recommendations. At the same time, its commitment to delivering timely news and engaging video content ensures a well-rounded and entertaining experience for its audience.

As the site continues to evolve, its dedication to user engagement, community building, and innovative content strategies will be key to its ongoing success. With plans for expansion, enhanced user experiences, and increased focus on video content, is poised to remain a leading destination for beauty enthusiasts, news junkies, and video lovers alike.

In a digital landscape where content is king, stands out by offering a harmonious blend of commerce and content, catering to the diverse interests of its users and creating a vibrant online community. Whether you’re looking for the latest beauty products, staying updated on current events, or enjoying the hottest viral videos, has something for everyone, making it your ultimate online destination.


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