After being born in a little village filled with persecution and war in Sudan, having temporary residence at Kakuma’s refugee camp in Kenya and then moving to Australia at the age of 9, Bul Kuol, sophomore business administration major, found himself in California at California Baptist University to continue playing basketball.
Kuol is a forward on the men’s basketball team and has been a key player for CBU this year. He has been on the CBU basketball team for two years and said he continues to strive to become more successful both as an athlete and an individual.
Rick Croy, head coach of men’s basketball, helped Kuol receive an athletic scholarship, which allowed him to come to California.
“We watched video of him, but most of it was a relationship and a level of trust over the phone,” Croy said.
Kuol had another scholarship opportunity at another school but he felt CBU was the place for him to play.
When Kuol first arrived in California, he said there was not much of a culture shock but one thing that stood out for him was meeting Americans.
“I had only met an American one time so I was not used to being around them and I had to learn how to interact with them,” Kuol said.
Kuol also said basketball was not the first sport he played. He enjoyed playing soccer, which he played until the age of 14. His older sister forced him to stop playing soccer and to pick up a basketball.
“I started playing basketball with my friends and fell in love with it,” Kuol said.
Kuol said choosing to play basketball was the best decision he has ever made.
Jason Todd, senior finance major and forward, transferred to CBU the same year as Kuol and said he was glad Kuol continued to play basketball at CBU.
“Kuol brings so much tenacity, he is a defensive nightmare to play against,” Todd said. “He is an incredible asset and an incredible teammate to have.”
Kuol also said CBU has helped grow his faith and helped him learn how to cope with the hardships he experienced in his life. He said his mother is a Christian and that is why he has always known of God but is still developing a relationship with him.
“God put me through that stuff (in my childhood) to open my eyes. I would not be myself today if I had not gone through those things,” Kuol said.
Hardships in Kuol’s life also helped him to grow.
“God has humbled me through so many things. I know who I am and I know what I am capable of,” Kuol said.
Everything Kuol has been through has not only made him into a stronger person, but also a stronger player.
“To make that next move to become a better player you need internal motivation and you have to be around the right people,” Croy said. “CBU has given (Kuol) that platform. His improvement shows that there is a really strong inner-drive.”
Basketball has made a huge impact on Kuol and has given him a community and a purpose. Kuol said he is looking forward to making an even greater impact on the team next year.