EULESS, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) – If the key to success is overcoming adversity, then Joshua Kashila is already a champion.
“Basketball has saved my life,” Joshua said. “I’ve always had a mindset where it’s like I’m not going to give up on anything. I can persevere through a storm.”
But what Joshua persevered through wasn’t just a storm — it was an emotional hurricane.
Joshua and his siblings were born in the United States. Their father is from Congo, their mother from India.
In 2005, the family moved to Angola where their parents are pastors at a church.
The decided to return to the U.S. in 2012, but visas prevented Joshua’s parents from returning.
The family decided to send their two teenage boys, who hold dual citizenship, back to the United States to finish their education and live with an extended family member in Euless.
Joshua recalled, “Actually, it was really good in the beginning until the country hit a crisis and my parents were not able to send money anymore.”
That’s when things became unstable for Joshua and his brother. “We did not have money to go back home… we was stuck.”
With no money to pay rent, the teenage brothers had to make some grown-up decisions.
“Me and my brother – we can’t call mom and dad and cry about it and have them worry. They can’t worry about us – they have enough issues – we will figure out on our own… so, we went our separate ways,” Joshua said.
Joshua and his brother split up, hoping to find a home.
Joshua said he “couch surfed” for the next three years, estimating that he lived in about 13 or 14 different places – not including the times he slept in a friend’s car.
“There were times I cried in the shower; just thinking about it was sad and devastating as young as I was at the time,” Joshua remembered. “So I was like, ‘I’m going to figure it out at the end of the day.’ Every time I go through a storm, there is something greater out there.”
Joshua figured out he could change his life by devoting his time to church and to basketball. “I realized basketball can be a tool to make that easy for me, so I invested in that and went all in.”
Nykolas Mason, a guard, said that basketball was “extremely important” for Joshua and “kept him on the right track. He didn’t have any guidance; that’s kept him sane. Basketball really changed his life.”
A chance meeting with a ministry assistant at First Baptist of Euless helped Joshua and his brother find a place to stay. That, coupled with his work ethic on the basketball court, created opportunities.
“Once I had that stability, that’s when I changed,” Joshua said.
Known to his teammates as “Kash,” Joshua cashed in on a full-ride basketball scholarship to Southwestern Assemblies of God University in Waxahachie. He’s found a home with the Lions, and has helped lead SAGU into the NAIA Sweet 16.
“It’s amazing, honestly. It’s a win, every day is a win because of where I’ve been,” said Joshua. “I’ve been in the mud, so I appreciate every single day.”
Delton Deal, SAGU’s head coach, said, “I think he’s going to do big things in his life. The struggle makes you stronger. What it’s going to do for his future – for the rest of his life – it’s going to be big time.”