The Basketball Tournament - yes, the tournament we've badgered you about on social media since March - kicked off its Northeast Region Friday at Philadelphia University. Among the shuffle of squads filled to the teeth with notable local names (Mardy Collins, Khalif Wyatt, Hakim Warrick) overseas pros and ex-NBA players, was Basketball City, featuring Sixers prospect Chu Chu Maduabum. I got a chance to catch up with Chu Chu after his team's demolition of a Drexel alumni unit.
Q: So tell us a little about yourself. Where are you from originally and how'd you start playing basketball?
Chu Chu: I grew up in Lagos, Nigeria, moved out when I was around 19 in early 2011. How'd I start playing basketball? I was forced to play basketball (laughs). I had like three more years in high school, and the basketball coach kept bothering me, so I was like alright, I'll just show up to practice. And then I started playing. I really got serious when I started going to the Masai Ujiri basketball camps. That's how I got better.
Q: And you've played basketball all over the world - most recently this year in Estonia. Are you still under contract there?
Chu Chu: (laughs) No! I was, I was this past season, but no. Wikipedia lies.
Q: So, you've been in the D-League, Nigeria, Qatar, Mongolia....what's that experience like, playing all around the globe and also having your foot in the door here after being drafted back in 2011?
Chu Chu: It's crazy cause, you know, every year, I don't know where I'm gonna be. Mongolia was....things went bad in Estonia, I had to leave, that was the first time I was in Estonia....and I just took the first job that came in Mongolia. And I went back to Estonia after the D-League cause I got released. I was hoping I'd be in Summer League with Philly this year. That didn't happen. So yeah, it's kinda crazy, I'm not ever sure about what's gonna happen. And I'm still working on getting back into the NBA.
Q: When your NBA rights are traded, how do you go about handling that? You know, what's it like to know you're being traded 4,000 miles away, and how'd you find out?
Chu Chu: I didn't know, man. Somebody hit me up on Instagram like "Yo Chu, congratulations" and I was like "Congratulations about what?" "Oh, you got traded." "Traded to who?" "Philly". That's how I found out. I didn't even find out from my agent, I didn't know what happened.
Q: How long did it take for you to find out?
Chu Chu: Probably 2, 3 hours [after the news broke]. I was in Estonia.
Q: Initially, what'd you know about the area and the organization?
Chu Chu: Well my agent wanted me to play for their D-League team, so I knew about Delaware, their affiliate. Other than that, not too much. I know about Allen Iverson, I watched a lot of film on him before I got to America.
Q: Lastly, what are your plans going forward; this summer, next season and beyond?
Chu Chu: Play somewhere good (laughs). I'm trying to make it back in the NBA, so I've got to play in better leagues and make some money too....I gotta play in better leagues so teams will notice me.
If you can't make it out to watch team Liberty Ballers play at Philadelphia University at 9:00 a.m. Saturday, July 18th, don't worry. You can watch LB play online by clicking the stream link here.