Tylor Okari Ongwae

Ongwae in his kenya colors in a game against Tunisia 
Photo courtesy:FIBA

By Ariel Okall

To most basketball lovers and fanatics, he is known as Tylor Okari Ongwae, but to people who have played with him, he goes by the alias mr T, T O, or FoF (face of franchise) as they like to call him in the National team circles.He hails from kisii land, athletic as they come, skilled with an exemplary mastery of the game of basketball. A great student of the game twisted with a calm and humble demeanor. He comes from a family of ballers, his siblings, Tyson Okari and Stacy Ongwae both play in the kenyan basketball league.

Ongwae flashes down a dunk while in action for his side in Denmark
Photo Credits Bakken Bears

The quiet and silent assassin formerly of friends school kamusinga, joined University of Louisiana Monroe (ULM). Where he featured for the NCAA division 1 side who compete in the sun belt conference. He went pro, and has no intentions of slowing down soon, at the moment he plays for the Bakken Bears in Denmark where he has won multiple championships.
Ongwae was part of the kenyan squad that won the afrocan zone 5 qualifiers in Kampala Uganda. He led the historic kenyan squad in Bamako Mali that ended up bagging the silver medal.

Ongwae in action for ULM in USA
photo courtesy:vimeo

Ongwae spoke to us about what drives him to be at his level best, every time he steps up on the floor. His expectations as a moran. With some wise words for kenya basketball youths, he also shares his plans for the younger generation this summer after the pandemic is controlled. This is what the champ had to say

1: You have been a student athlete at Friends school Kamusinga kenya and ULM in America how hard was it being a student athlete ?

“Friends school Kamusinga In Kenya being a student Athlete is tough you spend countless of hours in classes not enough time to work on your craft, the few hours you get you have to utilize it. In college in the states it was easy being a student athlete classes are not as difficult compared to kenya so you can spend extra hours in the court.“

2: How many countries have you played in ?

“I have played in 5 countries Sweden,Switzerland,Italy,New Zealand and Denmark.”

3: Comparing these countries, where can you say you played your best basketball ? Is there a reason ?

“I have been consistent through out the countries have played .i will say Denmark have had rather much success.”

4: What makes you wake up in the morning and go to work?

“The fact that I can be better today at basketball than yesterday. Each day gives me an opportunity to be the best basketball player that I can be.”

5: what’s your motivation ?

“I am motivated to win, I want to win in practice, in the weight room and in games. Does it mean am going lose some? Yes ,but that’s what motivates me.”

6: how much do you value hard work?

“My thing is that I give it my all in whatever activity I participate in. At no point in my life I want to say maybe I should have worked a little bit harder. When I lose it’s because the other team was better than us at that particular time.”

7:What is your take on youth basketball in Kenya ? Are the young guys doing enough in terms of training ?

“I Have interacted with a lot of young guys coming up, and I think most of them want to be better, which is a good thing.They just need to keep on feeding the right info on how to get better. I was planning to have a session with the next generation Morans this summer so will see how it goes.“

8: What can you tell young players out there who wanna be like you?

“Young players need to put in plenty of hours on the court, and the weight room. Record yourself working out and playing, then go back and watch and evaluate your play. Watch a lot film on good players and study them. Just work with a purpose.”

9: What are your expectation as a moran and what are you looking forward to in regards to afrobasket ?

”Am optimistic with our chances at the afrobasket qualifiers.our group is the group of death. Mozambique,Angola and Senegal are proven giants .But we are hungry and our preparation leading to this qualifiers will determine the outcome.The funny thing is most of the guys in the Morans team we were rivals in high school, we didn’t want to see each other faces but now we are the best teammates representing our country.This shows you how competitive bunch of guys we got. So am happy going to war with these guys come the qualifiers.”

Ongwae (in white third from right) celebrates with the Usain bolt signature celebration,after a win against Tunisia in Bamako Mali Afrocan 2019
photo courtesy:FIBA
Ongwae lifts his tournament best scorer award In the afrocan 2019 games Mali
photo courtesy:FIBA

Well there you have it, straight from the champs mouth. You can take this to the bank that hard work pays offs. Its not about how bad you want it ,it’s about how hard you are willing to work. If you take your talents and gifts, combine them with a superb work ethic and you push yourself to a point of impossibility, where the impossible is possible,there and then you will achieve progress and you will be on the right side of success.Thats what i call the Durango mindset.

By Ariel Okall


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