NSU basketball is destination for one-armed Gatorade sensation

UNIQUE PROSPECT:  A one-armed high school basketball standout, Hansel Enmanuel, announced Saturday he is committed to play at Northwestern State.

JOURNAL STAFF

New Northwestern State basketball coach Corey Gipson hinted weeks ago that he had a solution to Demon fans’ desire for media exposure, but said they’d have to wait and see.

The curtain opened Saturday when Hansel Enmanuel announced his commitment to the Demons, resulting in waves of social media attention reporting the news.

Enmanuel’s story is featured in a Gatorade commercial that began airing during the NBA Finals and is pinned on the @Gatorade Twitter account. He has been profiled on SportsCenter and featured by other national media.

The news of his commitment was quickly picked up by Sports Illustrated and Apple News, among an array of national and even international social media and online outlets.

Enmanuel is a one-armed prep standout who has played at Life Christian Academy in Kissimmee, Fla., where he was averaging 25.9 points, 11.0 rebounds, 6.9 assists and 3.4 blocks through Feb. 15, according to SI.com reporter Wilton Jackson.

He narrowed his choices to Memphis, Tennessee State and Bethune-Cookman in June before announcing his commitment Saturday at the Drew League prospect showcase Saturday.

Enmanuel had his left arm amputated at age 6 after a wall collapsed on it in his native Dominican Republic. He emerged as a college prospect in the past couple of years. A 6-4 guard, Enmanuel is ranked as the No. 195 overall prospect in the class of 2022, according to the On3 Consensus, which is self-described as “a complete and equally weighted industry generated average that utilizes all four major recruiting media companies.”

On3 reported the Demon commit owns a $1.4 million “NIL valuation” that is the 11th highest among 2022 prospects. On3 reporter Joe Tipson said Enmanuel has over 4 million followers across his social media platforms.

The On3 NIL Valuation is an index that “looks to set the standard market value for both high school and college-level athletes (that) … signifies an athlete’s value at a certain moment in time.”

Enmanuel has an NIL deal with Gatorade, and appeared in a trailer for rapper J. Cole, reported Tipton.

His native language is Spanish, and he is beginning to learn English after enrolling at the Florida high school for his senior year.

His father played professionally in their native country.

NSU is unable to announce the addition until scholarship documents are received, although both president Marcus Jones and athletics director Kevin Bostian shared the news on their social media accounts. Enmanuel’s decision was widely rumored to be imminent among Demon staff and supporters.

Photo by KEN JACKSON