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Emmanuel Adoyi: Basketball, Education and God

SAGU freshman forward shares his story of faith

KANSAS CITY, Missouri  --  The basketball team from Southwestern Assemblies of God University traveled 585 miles to get to the NAIA Championship in Kansas City. For one member, however, the trip has been much longer.

Forward Emmanuel Adoyi, who was just named the Freshman of the Year in the Red River Athletic Conference, his journey has been a major trek.

The nineteen year old left his hometown of Abuja (ah-BOO-ja), Nigeria in search of an education in the United States of America.

His parents, John and Caroline Adoyi (pronounced like a-TOY), raised their seven children in a strong Christian environment, and were in favor of their son’s desire for higher learning in America. They just had no contact and little idea of how to connect the dots across the Atlantic Ocean.

Prayer and lots of it eventually led them to Darnell and Marilyn Williams, of Little Rock, Arkansas. They would soon become the foster parents of Emmanuel as he was entering high school.

When asked about how he came to the USA, he points heavenward and says boldly, “God.” How did his parents become linked to the Williams? Again, he points above and says, “God.”

“You see, my dad really prays,” he added. “He is a man of God. We have always been a strong Christian family. Church and faith, that's the way I was brought up.”

Having picked up the game of basketball at age eleven, “E-Man” crafted a homemade backboard and basket and saved money for seven months to purchase his own ball. Until then, he played with a soccer ball.

Adoyi, which means “father of a son,” began playing on club teams where he discovered that he really liked the game a lot more than soccer. Along with his grades, it became his ticket across the ocean.

He departed from the capital of the nation of Nigeria and arrived in the capital of Arkansas. It was a very long flight.

Enrolling at Parkview Magnet High School, young Adoyi earned a spot on the Patriots basketball team. He became the captain of the team and, during his senior season, was named the Most Valuable Player of the State Class 5A state tournament when he helped lead the Patriots to a win in the state championship game.

Adoyi has thoroughly enjoyed playing for SAGU’s second year Head Coach Donnie Bostwick, and says he fits in well on campus. Plus, he likes the chapel services, where he feels a kindred spirit.

Learning a new game and a new language, English, has come with challenges. So has enduring and overcoming five cleft palate surgeries.

His communication skills have steadily developed, as has a sense of humor that his teammates enjoy. Adoyi especially likes to rib junior guard Dominique Rambo, who exchanges funny barbs much the same.

Adoyi is currently studying business at SAGU, though he has a strong interest in computer science.

This week in Kansas City the 6-foot-5 Adoyi said, upon graduation, he would like to enter international business.

For now, he is the Lions’ defensive stopper off the bench. A bench that began almost nine years ago, some 6,700 miles from where he is today.

Contact: Mark “Link” Warde, SAGU Sports Information Director, at or at 469-658-2847.

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