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TCU Basketball Player Kevin Samuel Motivated By Tough Times Growing Up And Family Surviving Hurricane Irma

FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) - TCU sophomore center Kevin Samuel said he will always be appreciative for life, health and happiness.

Growing up on the island of Barbuda, not far from the U.S. Virgin Islands, he learned to play basketball with a ball, used bicycle rim as a hoop. The backboard was attached to a mango tree.

But basketball wasn't Samuel's first love.

Kevin Samuel
Kevin Samuel - TCU basketball player (CBS 11)

He said he grew up loving the game of cricket. He also grew up knowing that sports wasn't his biggest priority.

Samuel tells of how he had to walk (if his bike wasn't working) to the village bakery every day before school, just to get some bread for his family to eat.

The older kids often didn't let him play because he had no shoes and was barefoot on the hot concrete.

His most distinct memory of his homeland will always be September of 2017 when Hurricane Irma nearly wiped out the entire island.

At TCU at the time, Samuel went days without any contact with his mom, dad and other immediate family.

Finding out his family was okay but understand how many families were affected, has left Samuel appreciating life like never before. He said he "will never taken anything for granted again."

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