PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD/WYZZ) — Kitan Isawumi’s parents are from Nigeria where soccer is king.

And his grandfather was a star tennis player in Nigeria. But American-born Kitan Isawumi gravitated towards basketball.

“All my friends played it and I didn’t want to miss out. I joined (teams) for that,” said Isawumi. “I wasn’t very good when I first started then I developed a love for the game.”

The three-year varsity player at Peoria Christian says he got serious about basketball a couple of years ago as a sophomore. The last summer he bulked up, adding nearly 30 pounds to his frame, and worked his way from the bench into the Chargers starting lineup last year.

“Summer of sophomore year was when I really learned to work hard and put it the extra effort,” said Isawumi. “I believe all the extra hours in the gym have paid off.”

Isawumi is one of the team captains here at PCS because of his leadership qualities which were really on display a year ago when the Chargers had no team managers.

“He found out we didn’t have team managers and the coaches were doing (their duties). So he started taking the water bottles, washing them every night, filling them up, taking on that responsibility on his own,” said “It was midway during the season before the other players even knew he was doing it.”

At the time, Isawumi was a reserve in the PCS lineup. He became a starter later in the seasOn.

“It was a job that needed to be done,” Isawumi said. ” wasn’t getting playing time and I wanted to help the team. I figured getting water would be a good way to help.”

Now his main goal is helping Peoria Christian earn its way to state.