Nigerian-Born UC Davis Basketball Player Hasn’t Seen Family in Nearly a Decade

DAVIS -- Chima Moneke isn't a household name yet, but he's working on it and he has quite the story to tell.

On top of being an incredible basketball talent for UC Davis, Moneke has lived on five of the planet's seven continents in his 22 years.

"Both of my parents are Nigerian. I was born in Abuja, Nigeria, which is the capital," Moneke told FOX40. "But I grew up in Australia because my parents are diplomats and we moved to different countries."

He's lived in Africa, Australia, Asia, Europe and North America. It was just by chance that he ended up at UC Davis.

"Coach Les saw me at a junior college showcase in St. Louis, Missouri," he said.

Aggies head coach Jim Les noted Moneke's passion for the game.

"The one constant over the day and a half that I was there was a young, hungry, Nigerian/Australian who you could tell every day, he had a passion to play," Les said.

Coach Les sold Moneke not just on all that UC Davis had to offer academically, but that the Aggies were a family which spoke directly to him because he was a long way away from his family in Nigeria. In fact, he hasn't seen his parents now in over eight years.

"I can't imagine not seeing your parents for that long. You know, he never complains about it," teammate Siler Schneider said. "He comes to work every day, and I think it fuels him."

Whatever it is, Moneke is not only the Aggies' go-to guy -- he's projected to be the Big West conference player of the year.

"For this next stage that I'm trying to get to, there's going to be a lot of people saying I can't," Moneke said. "Going to the NBA and playing in the NBA, that's my goal and I'm going to listen to it and I'm gonna use it."