College Player's First Points 'Electrified' the Crowd

Watch Hansel Emmanuel, who has just one arm, make a crowd-pleasing dunk for NSU
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 14, 2022 9:50 AM CST
College Player's First Points 'Electrified' the Crowd
Hansel Enmanuel, then playing for Life Christian Academy, gets ready to shoot during a high school basketball game on Jan. 17 in Springfield, Massachusetts.   (AP Photo/Gregory Payan, File)

Hansel Emmanuel scored his very first points as a college basketball player over the weekend, but that achievement for Louisiana's Northwestern State University is earning more headlines than your run-of-the-mill player's first baskets. That's because the 6-foot-6 teen has just one arm, though that hasn't stopped him from making a name for himself on the court over the years, per the Guardian. Emmanuel lost his left arm from the shoulder down when he was just 6 years old and living in the Dominican Republic, when a stack of cinder blocks fell on him.

Doctors couldn't save his severely hurt arm and had to amputate. But the boy didn't let his injury get him down, playing basketball in high school and gaining the attention of college basketball recruiters after others posted some of his plays on social media. Emmanuel ended up signing with NSU, but he didn't score in the Demons' first four games this season, per ESPN. That changed Saturday in his team's matchup against the University of Louisiana Monroe—first with a layup, then a successful free throw, and finally, a dunk "that electrified the crowd," per the Guardian.

"Drop the [hammer], Hansel!" his team's Twitter account posted, along with a video of the spectator-pleasing play. Emmanuel ended the night with 5 points and two rebounds. "I had to keep going after the layup—that was my first bucket," Emmanuel said, per his school's website, via ESPN. "I know my family was proud. I had to keep working. You can't give up." His team won, 91-73. (Check out an Emmanuel highlight reel from previous games here.)

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