Kansas player gets huge boost from Congress to achieve his 1 wish for Final Four game
The proud mother of a University of Kansas basketball star will likely get to see her son play in the Final Four in person, thanks in part to the efforts of U.S. Rep. Kevin Yoder .
Udoka Azubuike, a 7-foot sophomore center averaging 13.1 points and 7.1 rebounds per game, is a big part of why top-seeded Kansas has made it this far.
But throughout his successful college career, Azubuike’s mother Florence, a native of Nigeria, has never been able to see him play in person.
Though the NCAA provides up each player in the Final Four with up to $3,000 to take care of travel expenses for families, Azubuike’s mom had not yet been able to obtain a travel visa.
“She has always dreamed about coming over here. She has never seen me play before,” Azubuike, who has a host family in Florida, told The Kansas City Star.
On Tuesday, Kansas coach Bill Self said school officials were trying to work with the U.S. State Department and Nigerian Consulate so Florence could fly to America, but there were “some visa complications” that made the process difficult.
“Our staff is talking with all the proper political people to try to make something like that happen because we know how much that would mean to Udoka and his mother to be able to witness — can you imagine a parent coming over here who has never seen a basketball game, a real basketball game like this, and that’s the first time you see your son play?” Self said.
“That would be just an unbelievable experience. We’re hoping that’s the case,” he added.
At some point in the process, Yoder stepped in to try and help Florence get a non-immigrant travel visa in time for Kansas’ Saturday night game against Villanova in San Antonio, Texas.
Can confirm Kansas congressman Kevin Yoder is working with the State Department and Nigerian consulate to try to get a non-immigrant travel visa for Udoka Azubuike's mother. Am told the process, in normal cases, is something that typically takes longer than a few days' time.
— Jesse Newell (@jessenewell) March 28, 2018
And on Thursday afternoon, Yoder confirmed that the visa situation had been resolved.
“Breaking news: we’ve been informed that Udoka’s mother’s visa has been approved!” the congressman tweeted.
Still, there could be one roadblock remaining. Due to a personnel strike, Air France was forced to cancel nearly one-quarter off all its Friday flights.
The Doke mom situation could have one final roadblock. Self said he's aware of an Air France strike. My check of google shows 24 percent of flights on Friday will be canceled by Air France. Geez.
— Gary Bedore (@GaryBedore) March 29, 2018
Self said he is aware of the situation, according to The Star’s Gary Bedore.
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