Photo provided by ShLoe Maurer (Bilal- on the left in black. Naef- on the right in white)
In 2015, 7-year-old twins Naef and Bilal Yusuf along with their 6-year-old brother Falmata came to the United States from Ethiopia. At the time, the only sport they knew was soccer, which they excelled at. Tim Oakley, their youth soccer coach, asked if they would like to learn how to play basketball.
Coming from Ethiopia, the boys had never actually seen someone play basketball. They had not held a basketball in their hands nor taken a shot at a basket. They had only seen posters of people playing the game.
In October 2015 as second graders, the boys started learning how to play basketball with Coach Oakley. In April 2017, the boys joined their first AAU basketball program, Eagles United, and began skills training with Eagles United director Alex Spielman.
The twins led their fourth-grade Eagles United team to win the coveted “Belt” at the Midwest Basketball Showcase in Omaha, Neb. While attending Don Showalter’s Snow Valley Basketball Camp as sixth graders, playing with others as old as eighth graders, Naef won the “Best Eighth Grade Shooter Award” and Bilal won the “Mr. Hustle – Eighth Grade Defensive Award.”
Their sixth-grade middle school basketball team won Iowa’s State School Team Championship, catching people’s attention along the way. In March 2019, the boys joined the Martin Brothers Select AAU program. The twins’ Martin Brothers 2026 team has had great success playing together, including recently placing third in the nation at the Under Armour National Championship Tournament in Indianapolis, Ind.
More to Come
The next articles will feature a question and answer session from each brother to get to know them better.
To stay up to date with the Yusuf brothers follow them on Instagram and YouTube @yusufbrothersbasketball.