On Saturday (December 10) night, Emmanuel, 19, finally got on the board with a stylish layup, bringing most of the arena to its feet. The Northwestern State freshman also provided the most defining moment of the game against Lousiana-Monroe, slamming a thunderous dunk in the last minute before his team won 91-73.
"I had to keep going after the layup – that was my first bucket," Emmanuel said in a statement. "I know my family was proud. I had to keep working. You can't give up."
The 6-foot-6 guard wound up scoring five points Saturday night.
Emmanuel, who was born in the Dominican Republic, was just six years old when a pile of cinderblocks fell on him, leaving damage so severe that doctors were forced to amputate his arm. He later moved to Florida and made a big splash as a high school basketball player. The high-scorer drew interest from a number of colleges and became a viral sensation after he started to post his highlights to social media last year.
"He's been a sensation on social media," said Ricardo Catala, his AAU coach. "At first, people may've thought it was a gimmick and didn't know if he could do it against top talent."
"It's a testament to his work ethic and how good he is and special he is," Brandon Jenkins, a scout for 24/7 Sports, said. I think there's always room to grow and the skies the limit for a kid like him."