Vikings basketball player Oluwabukunmi Lawal

Vikings basketball player Oluwabukunmi Lawal

by ACAC Sports Writer Curtis J. Phillips

Multi-sport athlete Oluwabukunmi (Josh) Lawal is like a pinball machine, jumping back and forth with his answers, when asked what his favourite sport is to play and what sport he is best at.

"I would say that I found the most success in volleyball. In Grade 12 we placed third at (Alberta) provincials," said the graduate of Strathmore High School. "I was playing fairly well (right side).

"I also enjoyed football (slot back, wide receiver) because it was football. In track I did triple jump and ran the relay.

"It's hard to say what is my favourite and what is my best.

"I guess it is basketball (Spartans ranked seventh in the province in his Grade 12 year) because it is the one I turned out to be the most passionate about and I do it year round."

So, it is no surprise that Lawal, 20, suits up in Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference (ACAC) for the University of Alberta Augustana Vikings for not only basketball, but indoor track.

Last year he redshirted in basketball.

"I had never played basketball before I came to Canada," recalls Lawal, who moved from Nigeria at the age of 12. "I had played a little soccer and done some running before I came here.

"Redshirting last year was the right thing as I was definitely the least experience player. A lot of the other players had been playing since grade school and understood the game at a different level. I was from a small town and they were used to playing at a different level. It also gave me a chance to lift weights and get stronger."

Lawal said he has since packed on 15 pounds (6.8 kilogram) to his 6-foot (1.82 metre) frame, bulking up at 200 pounds (90.7 k).

The popular student/athlete represented the Vikings in ACAC indoor track last year (2017-2018) competing in the 600 metre and as part of the 4 x 400 relay team.

Of how the two sports complement each other, he responded: "With basketball we have to do a lot of weight training and that helps in track. In basketball we are running throughout the year and some of the workouts we do in track help me run in basketball and allow me to be able to cut hard off cuts."

Like many new immigrants from hot weather countries arriving to Canada for the first time. Lawal remembers his introduction to snow.

"It was a morning and I woke up and went outside and I was wondering what was going on. I had seen snow on TV before. At first it was cool but after a while, you got used to it. Overall it was pretty cool the first time."

A talented musician, Lawal wears jersey No. 10 on the hardwood because, "It was one of the available numbers," and adds with a laugh, "Also because I think I am a 10-out-of-10."

Lawal, is enrolled in Bachelor of Science majoring in Biology and one day "hopes to find a career as a Pharmacist".

He is currently averaging nearly four minutes per game while shooting an impressive 55% from the field for the Vikings.

According to the Vikings website, one of Lawal's favorite inspirational quotes is:"Everybody Eats" another one is "ELE - Everybody Love Everybody."