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Broken promises & disposable players: The remarkable story behind a high school sports scandal

Paterson Eastside High School

By Matthew Stanmyre and Steve Politi | NJ Advance Media for
on April 04, 2017 at 7:03 AM, updated April 04, 2017 at 5:12 PM

Andrea Aquino began her journey in Paraguay. At 6-foot-7, people in her village thought she was a freak — all arms and legs clinging to the motorcycle she and her mother sold clothes from to support themselves.

Selwyn Rodriguez and Christian Ortiz started their odyssey in Puerto Rico. Once in the mainland United States, Ortiz slept on piles of laundry and cold floors, while Rodriguez lived with a stranger who openly used drugs.

And Blessing Ejiofor landed in the U.S. on the fast track to college, via Nigeria, but her dreams were crushed by the adults she trusted most. That trust has cost her a scholarship to Vanderbilt and forced her back to Africa, where she remains a prisoner of immigration rules.

Four players from three continents — all bound by the same dream and pitch: Leave your friends and family behind, travel thousands of miles and use basketball to find a better life.

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