Most of us can't imagine not growing up training and playing in air conditioned gyms with wood floors best equipment possible and all the latest gear to look the part. But for Boubacar Toure his journey to Grand Canyon University, in Phoenix, Arizona had a very different route. A route that made his goals so much more unsure yet so desperate. In his native Senegal there are very few avenues out that could allow a young man from the rural parts of Dakar with very little resources an opportunity at a university education and future that could change the lives of a whole family for generations to come.
Boubacar is the second youngest of his siblings. He has one younger brother and four older sisters. It was his sister that first introduced him to basketball but it was a community friend that loved basketball that saw his 6'11" height and potential as a great fit for the game. Very soon Boubacar's mom and friends gave him the final push that got him an invitation to join SEED Academy. SEED Academy is located in Thies, Senegal and Boubacar would soon move on campus to live, train and go to school.
It was through video of Boubacar from SEED Academy that we first saw him and began the efforts to fundraise to to help Boubacar come to P.H.A.S.E. 1 Academy and attend Faith Christian School in Mesa, Arizona. Boubacar's dream was to play basketball in America where he could compete against some the best athletes in the world. This was his best opportunity to attend university on a full scholarship and a chance at a professional career in the NBA.
Until his arrival in Phoenix in August 2013, as 17 year old high school senior, Boubacar's athlete development journey was focused on basketball training on the outdoor courts of SEED Academy. But very quickly Boubacar found out basketball in the United States is very physical and much faster that what he experienced in Senegal. To make things more challenging Senegal is a french speaking country and he would have to quickly adjust to his new english speaking environment.
In his own words Boubacar says P.H.A.S.E. 1 taught him to become and Elite 1, because even though he achieved his goal of coming to the United States to go to school and play basketball, there were many more goals he needed help with in order to achieve his greatest goals. He had never lifted weights before and because he started playing basketball late he needed much more work on his skills in order to be ready to compete at NCAA D1 level.
Despite all the hard work physically Boubacar needed more time to learn english to achieve his goal of getting a qualifying score on the S.A.T. Fortunately for Boubacar, Grand Canyon University, a small NCAA D1 school in Phoenix saw his potential and was willing to take chance and bring him onboard as a redshirt freshman. Boubacar was ecstatic but he would soon find out life as a red shirt freshman would be a road he would have to travel alone. He was not on the team and he would have to lift and train on his own, while studying to get a 3.0 GPA in order to be eligible for the following season.
Former P.H.A.S.E. 1 Academy alumni Boubacar Toure spent his 2015/2016 season as a medical redshirt Freshman at Grand Canyon U. Boubacar has since grown to 7 foot tall and has blossomed into a super athlete! But injuries to his ankles and thumb have created some set backs. He spent his summer break training with P.H.A.S.E.1 to get his body ready and focus on improving his feel for the basketball, to fuel what will be a huge freshman year. With a loaded schedule of Duke U., U. Louisville and U. Arizona on his schedule, there will be no greater test.
Be sure to follow his Journey of an Elite 1 this year because it's going to be a special one! (click here for full GCU 2015 Schedule). There are still many more goals to accomplish before reaching his childhood goals of graduating from university and playing in the NBA but as an Elite 1 we know those goals will only be the start of even greater ones.