Sakhile “Yao” Sithole

Background : Left for the US in 2007
High School : Episcopal High School ’09
Hometown : Pietermaritzburg, South Africa
Biography : Yao hails from Pietermaritzburg, South Africa where he was raised by a single father. At age 10 he was given the nickname “Yao” after NBA star Yao Ming because he had already grown the height of 6’5” tall. His nickname stuck with him as the years passed. Yao attended Alex High School in Pietermaritzburg until Durban High School brought him in on a scholarship under the tutelage of Myles Delport, a top South African coach.Yao is the most decorated junior in South African basketball history with Provincial and National colors. He led the South African Provincial National Team to victory in the South African Championships from 2005 to 2007. He was named MVP of all three Championship Games. He has played on three South African National Teams and was Captain two of the three years.His father initially had reservations about allowing Yao to travel to the United States to continue high school and play basketball. Thankfully all the attention Yao was receiving made him realize that Yao must have tremendous talent.

After much persuasion, Yao became a participant in our International Scholarship Program. He is currently a junior at Episcopal High School and playing under the leadership of Coach Jim Fitzpatrick, a former Wake Forest University Men’s Basketball Captain and member of the ACC All Academic Team. Yao is excelling on the basketball court and in the classroom. He currently holds an 85 Average.

  “Being the first Black South African to go to America on a basketball scholarship was intimidating because I knew that my success or failure would affect whether other South Africans got the same type of opportunities in the future.”
– Thabo Letsebe

“Scholar Athletes Featured in June Issue of O’Mag”