Umar Jalloh amassed enough frequent flyer miles just making it to Northwest College that he could probably take a free trip anywhere in the world.
Though his episodic journey was measured in years, not hours or days.
Jalloh, a 6-foot-6 freshman for the Trapper men’s basketball team scored 19 points and added seven rebounds last Saturday as Northwest outran the Game Gear All-Stars from Utah 111-82 at Cabre Gym.
After polishing off Williston State College of North Dakota 97-85 Friday, both games in the annual First Bank of Wyoming Shootout, the Trappers are 4-1 on the season.
NWC put five players into double figures versus Williston and six against Game Gear.
Jalloh is one of many newcomers to the team who has made the swift start possible.
“Five guys went out and hustled all the way,” Jalloh said. “Our team will be a lot better.”
Jalloh, 18, was born in the West African nation of Guinea. His parents moved to New York when he was 2 and he spent the next several years in Harlem, but he played high school ball in Denver.
His knowledge of the Wyoming landscape, basketball-wise and geographically, was limited before coming to Powell.
“I knew there were a lot of junior colleges in Wyoming,” he said.
Jalloh joined a team with a major international presence, including Lagio Grantsaan, a 6-7 freshman from Holland, who has been a force inside for the Trappers in the early going.
Grantsaan had 20 points and 11 rebounds in the Williston game and 10 points and 6 rebounds against Game Gear.
Grantsaan 20, wanted to attend school in the U.S. and Trapper coach Brian Erickson liked what he saw on Grantsaan’s personal highlight video.
Grantsaan did lack immersion in Wyoming lore.
“I knew where it was on the map,” he said. “For me it was an adventure.”
Luc Lombardy, 19, Calvin Fugett Jr., 14, Blake Hinze, 14, and Laukan Taufa, 13, joined Grantsaan in double figures in the Williston game. Taufa added 10 rebounds.
The Trappers led 48-33 at half-time and then shot 51.4 percent from the field in the second half.
Northwest pulled away from Game Gear late, a team made up of older players perhaps not in quite the shape of the Trappers. NWC outscored the visitors 18-1 down the stretch.
In an unusual development, former Trapper guard Skyler Zabriskie, now living in Provo, Utah, played one game for the Wyoming All-Stars, then suited up for Game Gear.
High men for Northwest were Taufa, joining Jalloh with 19 points, and Jace Johnson, 11, Grantsaan, Fugett Jr. and Jordan Banks, all with 10.
Banks, from Big Piney, red-shirted last year and believes he learned a lot. This almost entirely new group is meshing quickly, he said.
“I think we’ve done really well,” Banks said. “I like the way it’s going.”
So does Erickson. Pleased by the wins, he still thinks there is much to fix, from playing with intensity for 40 minutes to making fewer mistakes.
“We can take a lot of positives from it,” Erickson said. “I just don’t want them to be complacent.”