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Kao Dirichi Goes From From Nigeria To Starting Center For UT Arlington Mavs, Along With Viral Video For The Ages

by Keith Russell | CBS 11

ARLINGTON, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) - Seeing was believing when UTA's 6'9" starting center touched the top of the backboard this spring.

The video went viral.

Mavericks Head Coach Greg Young said, "I saw it on Insta-face or whatever they call it. I'm like what that can't be right".

Kao Dirichi (pronounced K-O), who has created the buzz, says "the dunk coach for the NBA dunk contest....we text and he says I can't wait til you get here".

The NBA….three letters Kao Dirichi never dreamed of when he moved as a youngster from Nigeria to Mesquite.

At that time, he knew nothing about the sport. He admits "as soon as I got off the plane, I saw the basketball. I was kicking it because I know soccer".

Among the people who helped KAO learn fine points of the game was Tyler Relph.

He's well known in Dallas/Fort Worth for training all the top notch players.

Even though some D-1 coaches told Tyler they had their doubts, the coaching staff at UTA was all ears....letting the raw lanky talented player walk-onto the team last year.

Coach Young says Kao "took advantage of his opportunity and should be on people's radar".

After leading the Sunbelt Conference in blocked shots, the Mavs gave Kao a full scholarship.

Not bad for the young man whose future at one point didn't extend past Home Depot.

Dirichi says "customers would make jokes like....I need you to get something from the shelf. My husband isn't very tall".

Kao's story is an example that nothing is beyond your reach.

Dirichi admits "I had my own teammates telling me you'll never make JV. You'll never play college basketball. If you have a goal in mind...keep working toward your goal….whether people are showing support or not".

Kao Dirichi is proof the sky is the limit.

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