Hansel Emmanuel recorded his first college basket on Saturday night. The 19-year-old freshman, who lost his left arm in a childhood accident, continues to inspire his teammates and the nation.
When Emmanuel was six years old, a pile of cinderblocks fell on top of him in his home country of the Dominican Republic. The injury was so significant that doctors had to amputate his arm just below his shoulder.
That didn't stop him from living out his hoops dreams. The 6-foot-6 guard/forward was a star in high school.
As a, he earned scholarship offers from Bethune-Cookman, Memphis, Tennessee State and Northwestern State. He chose to play for the Demons and saw his first college minutes back in November.
Emmanuel appeared in four previous games for Northwestern State and recorded a rebound, but went 0-for-2 from the field. That all changed this weekend against Louisiana-Monroe.
Late in the second half, Emmanuel drove to the hoop from the right wing. Knowing what was about to come, his teammates stood up on the bench.
Emmanuel split two defenders with the dribble and laid-in the first points of his college career with a saucy finger-roll. Everybody in the gym went nuts.
While getting on the board was a special moment, the second bucket of his NCAA career were even better. Emmanuel was fouled in the act of shooting, which put him on the line.
He made the first of two free throws, but missed the second. After coming down with the rebound, Emmanuel skied to the rim and threw down a vicious jam that blew the roof off of the gym.
It was a powerful dunk and the Demons bench went bonkers. Rightfully so.
Emmanuel meant business and dropped the hammer.
Northwestern State moved to 8-2 on the year in the win and Emmanuel finished with five points, 2-of-3 from the field, and two rebounds in eight minutes. He spoke about his performance after the game and couldn't keep the smile off of his face while offering an inspirational message about never giving up.
Emmanuel made his presence felt and let it be known that he has arrived on the collegiate level.