MERIDIAN, Idaho — Just days before the start of his senior year, Mountain View High School senior Mike Ozomah made the 1,800 mile move from Houston, Texas to Meridian, Idaho.
His life completely turned upside down just a few months earlier because of Hurricane Harvey.
The category-four storm brought catastrophic flooding to the greater Houston area, destroying his family's business and causing extensive damage to their home.
"I mean they lost everything, and there wasn't any insurance to help cover it," Mike's uncle, Austin Ojukwu said."The damage to the home was extensive, and the loss of work put a lot of strain on the family."
Before the storm, Ozomah was an all-district basketball player at Hightower High School.
Because the family lost their business, thus their source of income, Ozomah wouldn't have been able to play in his senior season, as he would have to take care of his siblings while his parents worked different jobs to get back on their feet.
Ojukwu, who lives in Meridian, says he reached out to his sister Victoria and offered to let Mike live with him for his senior year.
"It was heartbreaking, but it was something that had to be done," Victoria said. "My brother promised me and said I will take care of him."
But Victoria's love for her son outweighed the pain she felt by sending him to Idaho.
"I love my mom to death and It hurts me when I see my mom struggling like that," Mike said. "She means a lot. Everything. She's literally like my rock."
Ozomah arrived in Boise just days before the start of his senior year.
Knowing he would want to continue his prep basketball career, Ojukwu reached out to the Mavericks' head basketball coach, Jon Nettleton before the move.
The school filed a petition with the Idaho High School Activities Association on behalf of Ozomah, a common practice for athletes new to the area, to allow him to compete on a varsity team.
However, that petition was rejected by IHSAA.
"Situations like those, you get two chances and if you don't get it in those two chances, you're done," Ozowah said.
"Mike's coming from Houston, I don't have recruiters in Houston looking for a player," Nettleton said.
Mountain View High School athletic director Luke Wolf says their fight to get Ozomah on their roster was purely out of compassion.
"We're all in this business together and that is to help kids," Wolf said.
So the school filed a second, and final petition, submitting several documents to the board, showcasing just how much Ozomah's family had lost because of the hurricane.
Eventually, IHSAA reversed their decision and Ozomah was given the green light to compete for the Mavericks.
"He had a big ole' grin on his face," Nettleton said. "He called his Mom right away."
His uncle says he cried when he got the news.
"Mike is such a good young man and you just want the best for him," Ojukwu said.
At 6-foot-5, Ozomah is hard to miss on the court.
HIGHLIGHTS: Mountain View vs. Capital
"He's pretty well built, I mean you can't miss him, he sticks out," Nettleton said. "There's plenty of games this year where the guys and even myself are like, okay, you don't see that out here that often."
'That' includes innate athleticism.
"He has things as a coach that you can't teach, you can't teach jumping out of the gym, you can't teach athleticism like he has," Wolf said.
Ozomah appeared in 19 games the season, scoring a team-high average of 10.6 points per game.
HIGHLIGHTS: Mountain View vs. Meridian
"Mike's a tough kid, both physically and mentally," Nettleton said. "He's got a really good mindset on how to push through."
It didn't take long for his teammates to consider him family.
For Christmas, they surprised him with a plane ticket home to see his biological family.
"He's given us a lot, so why can't we give back to him and send him home for Christmas?" said senior guard Dallin Perrin.
"He put his hand over his head and started jumping up and down and it was so fun to see him so ecstatic," said senior forward Camille Massaad.
For knowing his teammates for just a few months, Ozomah says their gift was that much more special.
"It meant a lot, for people who met me just a couple of months ago, they showed me a lot of appreciation and care," Ozomah said.
Six weeks later, the Mavericks celebrated senior night.
HIGHLIGHTS: Centennial vs. Mountain View senior night
And while Victoria couldn't be there to watch her son's last 'home' game in person, she was still able to have a front row seat thanks to technology.
"Even if she couldn't fly here, we wanted her to feel like she was there," Ojukwu said. "It was a special memory for me, one I'll carry with me for a long time."
The Mavericks finished the regular season 7-11, earning the number six seed in the district tournament, and eventually a spot in the 5A state tournament.
It's a dream Ozomah wasn't sure would ever come to fruition.
"If you have a dream, you can go chase it, wherever it is. If you have a dark time, or something seems like a roadblock to you, you can get through it, you just have to persevere," Ozomah said.