ABILENE, Texas (BCH Sports) – If you’ve ever noticed the men’s basketball roster at Abilene Christian University (ACU), you would likely notice that a third of the team is made up of international athletes. It’s a given that this is a home away from home created for these guys, but what made them come to Abilene, Texas?

We start roughly 9,100 miles west of the Key City, in Australia, where three Wildcats hail. They come from Sydney, Gold Coast, and Melbourne.

Images below provided by ACU 2022-23 Men’s Basketball Roster:

Tobias Cameron has won more games than anyone in ACU history, Yuot Gai made a stop in Levelland to South Plains College, and Hunter Jack Madden rounds out the trio. He’s now a Wildcat by way of Otero College in Colorado.

“To be honest, [ACU was] my only D1 offer. They’re probably the only school that stayed consistent throughout the whole recruiting process when I came here in 2018. So, that’s just something I looked for, was a team that stays with me the whole time, and they’ve stayed with me since Dallas and Minnesota, and then went back to Dallas where I came for my unofficial visit. So, pretty much since then, I was going to come to Abilene Christian,” Cameron recalled.

Gai told BCH Sports, “Well, I came from JUCO, Abilene, Texas, and it just came with. I like a small town. It’s small, quiet, and it just helps me focus, y’know?”

“I’m from Sydney, Australia, and [the] main reason I wanted to come to Abilene was for the basketball. I knew Ted Crass before, Coach Crass,” Madden detailed. “He was coming here before, well, I didn’t know he was coming here, but I reached out and it worked out perfectly.”

We now travel upwards of 10,000 miles northwest to Roncade, a municipality of Italy, where head coach, Brette Tanner and his staff found Leonardo Bettiol, and convinced him to take the leap of faith to head on out to West Texas.

“I came here ’cause I thought it was the best offer I had on a good basketball team. I love the team, I love the coaches, and I think it was the best option for me,” gushed Bettiol.

One final stop is due north about 1,300 miles from Italy, in Stockholm, Sweden. That’s where Ali Abdou Dibba grew up. He made his way to the states to attend Chicago State but transferred to ACU last summer.

“Actually, my brother knew the coach and how they play, and that would fit me,” Dibba shared. “I felt like the family atmosphere was good here, so that was mostly why I came here.”

ACU told BCH Sports having players from all over the world is in the school’s long-term plan.

“I’ve learned a ton about all of them, and I think that’s something we’re gonna continue to do. You’re gonna see a lot of international flavor on this roster – a lot more,” teased Brette Tanner.

The Wildcats finish the regular basketball season Friday in Huntsville. At 6:30 p.m., they will take on Sam Houston State.