Jacksonville State Surprises Lithuanian Player With Mom He Hasn’t Seen In Five Years

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Imagine being 5,000 miles from the only life you’ve known just to play hoop. No old friends, no family, no nostalgic cuisine, no cultural normalcies. Well that’s basically how LaMelo Ball is living right now and it sounds awful.

Jacksonville State basketball player Norbertas Giga and LaMelo have swapped places, and save for the cameras following him around and his dad constantly demanding the spotlight, Giga must be feeling all the same emotions of homesickness.

The 7-foot center arrived in the United States from Lithuania in 2013 and has not returned home since. Imagine not seeing your mother for five years. As a momma’s boy, that’s tough for me to wrap my head around.

The Jacksonville State team is currently in Evansville, Indiana awaiting the start of the Ohio Valley Conference tournament. Giga’s coaches called him into a conference room for what was supposed to be a one-on-one film study. If it was just a film study, there would be no reason for me to bring this to your attention. If it was just a film study I wouldn’t have teared up watching.

Giga is averaging 8.3 points and 6.2 rebounds per game. His 193 total rebounds are second most on the team, according to NCAA.com.

Jacksonville State faces Tennessee Tech in the first round of the OVC tournament Thursday at 6:30 p.m.

And I think I just became a Gamecock for life.

[h/t NCAA]

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Matt’s love of writing was born during a sixth grade assembly when it was announced that his essay titled “Why Drugs Are Bad” had taken first prize in D.A.R.E.’s grade-wide contest. The anti-drug people gave him a $50 savings bond for his brave contribution to crime-fighting, and upon the bond’s maturity 10 years later, he used it to buy his very first bag of marijuana.