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From Cal Poly to the NBA, David Nwaba now giving back to the Central Coast

Nets guard holds basketball camp at St. Joseph

From Cal Poly to the NBA David Nwaba now giving back to the Central Coast

ORCUTT, Calif. - David Nwaba is spending time on the Central Coast this week just before he embarks on his fourth NBA season.

The former Cal Poly star is getting ready to play for the Brooklyn Nets, his fourth team since breaking into the NBA in 2017.

"Hopefully, that becomes home," said Nwaba, who signed a free agent deal with with the Nets last month. "I just have to go out there and compete and show them that I belong and can win games. Every night I have to go out there and play hard and play my game."

Before he leaves for the bright lights of the Big Apple, Nwaba is catching up with friends and former teammates on the Central Coast.

On Saturday, he held his first ever David Nwaba Elite Camp, which was held at St. Joseph High School in conjunction with One Dream Hoops.

"I just wanted to give back to the community," said Nwaba. "I went to school at Cal Poly, so being able to come back to the Central Coast and give back that felt like it was a great idea."

The six-hour event allowed Nwaba the opportunity to help inspire several dozen local youth players, who were aged 7th through 12th grades.

"I'm enjoying it," said Nwaba, during a break in the camp. "These guys are having fun, getting better, so I'm enjoying that process as well."

The process that Nwaba encountered to reach the NBA is truly one of inspiration.

He was lightly recruited coming of out University High School in Los Angeles.

After a year spending a redshirt season at Hawai'i-Pacific Univesity, Nwaba played one season at Santa Monica Junior College, before transferring to Cal Poly, where he played for three seasons.

Among his accomplishments with the Mustangs, he helped lead the team in 2014 to its first ever NCAA Tournament appearance.

"It was the start of my journey and it gave me time to grow mentally and physically, that was the biggest thing that I got being here and just having the confidence in myself," said Nwaba.

After graduating with a sociology degree in 2016, Nwaba worked hard to earn a roster spot with the the Los Angeles D-Fenders, the Los Angeles Lakers development team.

During a standout season there, he was signed by the Lakers late in the 2017 season and earned raves for his energy and defensive play.

However, his time in Los Angeles was brief. Soon after signing a contract with the Lakers, he was released in a surprising roster move and picked up by the Chicago Bulls.

After one season in Chicago, he played the next year with the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Now, he's onto to Brooklyn, where he'll join an organization on the upswing after signing superstars Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving in the offseason.

"It's a good group, with guys that I can learn from," said Nwaba. "I've been working out with them in LA. It's good to be part of winners, so I feel like it's going to be a good season and hopefully we go pretty far in the playoffs."

Now a seasoned NBA veteran, Nwaba is feeling comfortable playing on the biggest stage in professional basketball.

"This is going on my fourth year, so I feel like I've got enough experience to play at this level and stick around, so I just have to go out there and play hard, play my part and win games," said Nwaba.

Few could have predicted Nwaba would be where he is at today. Before his promotion to the Lakers, no other Cal Poly graduate had ever played in the NBA.

It's a story he uses to inspire others, especially young people, to show that dreams can come true.

"It's important to believe in yourself and get rid of the negativity," said Nwaba. "Just go out there and play hard and try to make something happen. Just believe in yourself and go out there and prove everybody wrong. I had confidence in myself and believed that I could play at that level and I just made it happen."

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