December RRC Scholar-Athlete: Kader Tapsoba|
Dec. 12, 2013
By Kayla Curry
Traveling from West Africa to West Texas is a long journey, but that's exactly the route Kader Tapsoba took to become a member of the Texas Tech basketball team. Now the 6-10 forward proudly claims the title of student-athlete, and says he wouldn't know any other way of life.
Tapsoba started playing sports on the field and that eventually led to the court.
"I grew up playing soccer mostly because it's the main sport down there," Tapsoba said. "Growing up, I did what everyone else did."
After a growth spurt at 15, Tapsoba picked up a basketball and has not put it down since. In his home of Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, Africa, he did not have a lot of company on the court.
"I was one of the few ones playing basketball there," he said, "because basketball isn't really known there."
Tapsoba said at that point, the thought of playing in the United States was not even on his radar.
"I was just playing basketball because I love it and that's it," Tapsoba said. "It's not something that is that big back at home, so if you do it, it's because you love it not because you want anything out of it."
Even though he was not looking for it, a friend of Tapsoba approached him with the idea of playing collegiate basketball in the U.S. From there, Tapsoba was able to take his love for the sport to the next level when he made the move to East Texas to play for Tyler Junior College.
Tapsoba took inspiration from his older siblings, when looking at the opportunity of achieving a Bachelor's of Computer Science.
"They were my example, but I wanted more," he said. "So when I got the chance to come to the U.S. and further my education, I took it."
After two years at Tyler Junior College, Tabsoba made the journey to West Texas where he settled in at Texas Tech.
He said the most appealing part of the university was the kindness of Lubbock residents.
In 2011, Tech added Tapsoba to their roster. Since his start at Tech, Tapsoba has been a force on defense - leading the team in blocked shots.
His athletic achievements are balanced out by a very successful academic career.
Tapsoba has built an impressive academic resume during his collegiate career including Academic All-Big 12 First Team honors, Big 12 Conference Commissioner's Honor Roll and being named to Texas Tech's Dean's list.
Tapsoba plans to complete his resume by earning a master's in systems and engineering management and hopes to one day start his own business.
The Tech forward credits his Tech family with helping him become a successful student-athlete.
"We have the Marsha Sharp Center that does a lot for the athletes. We have tutors, computers, all the resources you would need to study, and that's pretty awesome," Tabsoba said. "I don't think every school has that. What we have is something we need to be very grateful for."
After all Tapsoba has achieved, he is most proud of something that may seem simple but means the world to him."I would be most proud of being a Red Raider," Tapsoba said. "Being a Red Raider because it's more. It's not just one thing. It's the community; it's the athletics, the academics. It's everything."