A part-time janitor who doubles as a basketball star with a burgeoning career in music?
Meet 22-year-old Newman senior Daniel Nwosu Jr., who mops floors, leads the Heartland Conference with an 18.6 scoring average, and has more than 93,000 followers on Instagram.
“It’s a pretty crazy life,” Nwosu said. “But I love it.”
Nwosu, a Montana transfer, is having the best basketball season in his collegiate career, as he has nearly doubled his scoring average, ranks second on Newman (8-17) in assists and leads the team in steals.
He hopes it might lead to an opportunity of playing professional basketball, but as his final season at Newman winds down, Nwosu is already anticipating a career in creating music.
In advance of homecoming week at Newman, “Dax” — his performing name — released a short music video with him rapping verses about Newman’s basketball team over a hip-hop mix of Foster The People’s hit song “Pumped Up Kicks.” The video has taken off on social media in advance of Newman’s final two home games on Thursday against St. Mary’s and Saturday against Texas A&M International.
“It’s pretty awesome to see the reaction it gets,” Nwosu said. “Whenever I go back and watch a video I’ve done, the shock effect lasts like a full day for me.”
Nwosu said that Vic Trilli, Newman’s athletic director, approached him about making a song for homecoming week.
“At first, I really had no inspiration,” Nwosu said. “I wasn’t sure what I was going to say or what beat I was going to use. Like two Sundays ago I was listening to Pumped Up Kicks and it kind of hit me. I wondered if there was a background sample I could use, so I just looked it up on YouTube and e-mailed (the user) and he sent me the track and I made the song the next day. It only took me a couple hours to write the lyrics.”
But Nwosu isn’t just a hip-hop artist. He is passionate about spoken-word poetry and has traveled as a motivational speaker in front of audiences. He posts quick-hitting videos to his Instagram account almost daily, usually with a positive message.
“That’s my goal whenever I do something creative is to make sure they all have a personal, positive message,” Nwosu said. “No one can really hate on that, you know what I mean? It’s just a good feel for everyone and I just want to keep things positive.”
Nwosu said he has always been creative, but he only started writing down his thoughts last year when he was bored on a road trip. After jotting down a few quick verses and showing a teammate, Nwosu’s artistic career began once he discovered the talent.
He also credits his time as a janitor at Newman for developing his voice. He spent a lot of hours in the art room, a creative environment where he says he found plenty of inspiration.
Writing just comes naturally to Nwosu and for that reason, it would take a perfect opportunity to play professional basketball to convince him from following his passion for music after he graduates from Newman.
“I’ve played basketball all my life and I’ve always wanted to play pro, but basketball is something that I had to work really, really hard for,” Nwosu said. “Writing just kind of came easy to me and it’s kind of nice to have something like that. I’m excited to keep making more music and making new videos.”