By Katie Faulkner @kfaulkner20
As St. Bonaventure freshman forward Kosi Nwafornso and I prepared to sit down, coach Kwame Oduro greeted us both, looked at his player and said, “remember, this isn’t about you, it’s about the team.” After speaking to Oduro a few weeks ago, this selfless, team-first mentality was expected.
Nwafornso causes trouble for defenses due to his combination of speed and ball control. While the 170-pound forward is accustomed to success on the field, joining Coach Oduro and the struggling program has forced him to step up early.
The thought of joining a former 1-15 team would surely worry any athlete. However, Nwafornso saw the opportunity a bit differently.
“Every team has a period when things go wrong,” said the Nigerian native. “Coach recruited new players and I believed we could do better.”
Nwafornso’s approach may seem relaxed, but he will be the first one to tell you what he and the team must work on.
“I think one of our main weaknesses as a team is chemistry,” said Nwafornso. “It takes teams with good chemistry (over) a long (period of) time to get there and we haven’t been playing together for that long.”
Despite this, Nwafornso credits his leaders and their efforts to unite and encourage the team on a daily basis.
“We have great team leaders,” Nwafornso said. “Kieran (Toland) is our motivator, Bon (Bonaventure Akinlosotu) is a good leader and Eddie (Keen) just knows the game so well.”
Although he redirected most questions away from himself to discuss the team, Nwafornso was forced to recognize his own strengths.
“I think (my strengths) are speed and the ability to take on players, so I’ve been working on finishing,” said Nwafornso. “I’m a striker. The team needs me to score goals.”
The transition from high school to college sports is anything but smooth.
“Adjusting to the speed of the game has been hard,” said the former Divine Mercy Secondary School MVP. “It’s so fast and not what I’m used to.”
While the adjustment has been difficult, Nwafornso may be starting to find his niche on the field. Tallying the third goal of the season for the Bonnies and his first career goal, the freshman was named to the Radisson Invitational All-Tournament Team last weekend.
When asked how it felt to be awarded this honor as a first-year player, Nwafornso flashed a grin and looked down at his shoes, wearing his humility on his sleeve.
“It felt good, but I didn’t do it alone,” he finally said. “I was happy I made it, but I give the credit to my team.”
The Bonnies may stand at just 1-5, but their spirits remain high as they take on rival Niagara on Friday.