``I didn't play any sports until I got to Chicago," said the 6-foot-9, 240-pound Koshwal. "I started playing basketball when I got here."
Koshwal was born in the Sudan, but he spent much of his childhood in Canada.
``I don't think we had a choice – we had to leave Sudan," Koshwal said. "We had a war. I was young and didn't really understand what was going on at the time."
Koshwal spent last season at Julian High (Ill.) with coach Loren Jackson and had an impressive season until he was ruled ineligible just prior to the start of the playoffs.
``I don't even know why, but they said I couldn't play," Koshwal said. "It was difficult watching my team play without me. I still don't know exactly why I wasn't allowed to play."
Now Jackson has started a new program, Boys to Men Math & English Academy, in Chicago and Koshwal is the cornerstone.
``I'm just looking forward to being able to play," Koshwal said.
Koshwal is a strong rebounder and inside presence who has good footwork for a player who hasn't played the game for all that long – and is also extremely athletic.
``When he came here, all I knew was that I was getting a decent-sized kid," said Jackson, who is also Koshwal's guardian. "It's worked out. He's changed an awful lot and I'm very proud of him."
``When he first got here, he didn't know the difference between the top of the key and the block," added Jackson. "He's much better and his best basketball is still ahead of him. Other kids have played for 15 years; he's played for less than four."