From the Congo to the Courts, Islander Isaac Mushila’s Journey is Just Beginning

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – Student-athletes at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi are held to a high standard. Keeping their bodies healthy and minds engaged is a balancing act that psychology major Isaac Mushila ‘23 has mastered.

Born in Lubumbashi, Congo, Mushila’s journey to the United States can be described as inspirational. In his home country, Mushila participated in a basketball camp led by NBA player Bismack Biyombo. Biyombo and others found that Mushila stood out at the camp, and they decided to support his journey to a preparatory school in Virginia. After some time at the prep school, Mushila was accepted and graduated from SPIRE Academy in Ohio. Mushila then played basketball for two community colleges, Gillette College in Wyoming, and Western Texas College, a Division I junior college located west of Abilene. Eventually, Mushila made the move to Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi based on his desire to play for head coach Steve Lutz.

“As soon as I came to the U.S., I knew I wanted to be a DI athlete, and after receiving multiple offers, I ultimately chose Texas A&M-Corpus Christi because I felt that Coach Lutz was going to continue to build a successful basketball program.”

Averaging 14.4 points, 9.9 rebounds, 1.3 assists, and a 53.8 field goal percentage, Mushila, a forward, is a well-rounded team player. Lutz notes that Mushila’s positive attributes expand way beyond his stats.

“Isaac is an extraordinarily humble person and a fierce competitor on the court,” Lutz said. “He might be one of the most caring and wholesome people you could meet. He is an excellent basketball player and an even better person.”

After Mushila graduates in spring 2023, he hopes to continue playing basketball professionally. In addition, he plans on coaching basketball and pursuing a career in sports psychology.

“I am intrigued by human behavior and mental processes, more specifically in athletes, and how playing a specific sport affects someone’s daily influence with athletic performance,” Mushila said.

As a child, Mushila was first introduced to basketball by his cousin. As a teen, he grew his love of the sport and inspiration for the game from some of his favorite players, including Kobe Bryant, NBA great. As a young man and student-athlete, he says he continues his dedication to basketball and his studies thanks to his biggest fan, his mother.

“My mom is the strongest person I know, and she constantly pushes me to go above and beyond my limits,” Mushila, who wears the No. 10 Islanders jersey, said. “She has always told me that school comes first and that I am capable of earning a degree along with playing basketball.”

Mushila spends time volunteering and working at youth basketball camps in the summers.

“It is so fun and rewarding to see children learning to dribble and shoot,” Mushila said. “They are learning to have fun, which is what sports are all about, being able to be good at what you enjoy.”

Despite being 8,000 miles from his family, Mushila says he is thankful to be surrounded by good people at TAMU-CC who want what is best for him. One individual who Mushila especially appreciates is Head Athletic Trainer Jerry Hilker, and Hilker explains that the respect and appreciation are mutual.

“Isaac carries himself with a reserved confidence,” Hilker said. “He possesses a maturity that you don’t see in a lot of people his age. Based on his positive attitude and personality, I expect that Isaac will experience a lot of success in his life.”

With his quiet determination, strong work ethic, and genuine compassion, Mushila is making an Island Impact on the Men’s Basketball program at TAMU-CC.

“I try to push and challenge myself to become the best version of myself for my team, my family, and most importantly – me,” Mushila said. “I hope that my legacy here at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi is that hard work and dedication always pays off.”