Colorado State’s Emmanuel Omogbo has had one of the most inspiring and heartbreaking seasons of any player in college basketball.
A week ago, the junior was home in Maryland grieving the loss of his parents and twin niece and nephew in a tragic house fire — Matt Norlander’s feature on Omogbo is a must read, by the way. He returned to the team on Tuesday and played on Wednesday, entering the game to a standing ovation in the second half of the Rams win against San Jose State.
Great game with big shots from both teams.. But this was the biggest moment of the game @MW_MHoops #sjsu #mwbb https://t.co/XyBBJdt6l4
— San Jose State MBB (@SJSUMBB) January 28, 2016
“That’s the neatest performance I’ve seen under such adverse circumstances,” Colorado State coach Larry Eustachy said after the game. “And I was going to put him in, and then there was a timeout. So I waited until they started to play the game again, then I put him in because I knew the fans would encourage him.
“And I thought our fans were terrific tonight, and they really acknowledged him, and if you don’t think that means a lot to him, we’re kidding ourselves. It was cool that he hasn’t played much in the last week, and 11 (points) and 7 (rebounds) in 20 minutes may be the greatest performance I’ve witnessed under such tragic situations.”
On Sunday morning, Omogbo shared a heartfelt video message he received from Kobe Bryant.
“This is Kobe, I just wanted to take the time to let you know that I’m thinking about you in my prayers, and you will continue to be in my prayers,” Bryant said in the message. “Your strength and courage is a true inspiration. Just wanted to tell you I’m there for you man, keep your head up.”
Shout out to @kobebryant for reaching out and I appreciate it pic.twitter.com/iTYxlKphxI
— IG: Eomogbo_15 (@longmoney_e) January 31, 2016