Families are important. They’re a support system of people who love each other and look out for one another. For Braian Angola-Rodas, family means everything.
Born in Villanueva, Colombia, Angola-Rodas is the heart and soul of the Florida State basketball team.
“He cares for everybody on our team,” said sophomore Trent Forrest. “He makes sure at all times that all of the guys on our team are doing well.”
This sense of caring is something Angola-Rodas picked up very early when he was in Colombia. Back home, he has his mother, Ofelia Rodas, and two younger sisters, Karol and Michel, who have supported him and his decision to play basketball since he left his home when he was 14 years old.
“She didn’t want me to leave, but whose mom wants to leave a 14-year-old in a big city,” said Angola-Rodas. “My mom used to come visit me every weekend or I’d go see her. Our relationship is very strong.”
Entering his senior year at Florida State, Angola-Rodas will have been away from home for nine years, but he still talks with his family every day.
Angola-Rodas averaged 4.6 points and 2.8 rebounds while shooting a team-high .420 from the 3-point line in his first season as a Seminole. He earned two awards at the Seminoles’ 2017 Basketball Honors Banquet – he was named the Seminoles’ top 3-point shooter and earned the Sixth Man of the Year Award along with the members of Florida State’s “Boom Squad” group of reserves.
“He’s always on the phone late at night talking to his mom and his sisters,” said junior Christ Koumadje. “One time, he went home and surprised them. That was a really great moment for his family.”
Being away from his home and family has made him mature at a faster rate. Angola-Rodas says that the distance and time difference between Colombia and Tallahassee has helped him grow as a person.
His teammates and Florida State’s coaches alike notice his growing maturity.
“He wants to help everybody he comes in contact with in every way possible,” said assistant coach Charlton Young. “He cares so much about his teammates and they all love him because of this compassion for people.”
In just one year at Florida State, Angola-Rodas has created strong relationships with his teammates that will last a lifetime. His favorite memory with the team came within the first weeks of school in the fall of 2016 when Tallahassee was hit by Hurricane Hermine and lost power for a few days.
“We all decided to go sleep in the locker room,” said Angola-Rodas. “Imagine 12 guys sleeping in the locker room for three days straight; that was the best. I feel like that helped us get closer and closer.
It’s the humorous, spontaneous things that Angola-Rodas does that make him so loveable amongst his peers.
“Braian is one of the most fun and exciting players I have ever played with,” said sophomore CJ Walker. “You never know what he is going to do next and he is a good person to spend time with.”
Although he is far away from home and his biological family, Angola-Rodas has made a new family here at Florida State.
“He’s a very emotional guy with his family,” said Koumadje. “The amazing thing is he treats us, his teammates, just the same way he treats his family.”
Last season, his mom came to Tallahassee to watch Angola-Rodas and the Seminoles play in their final home game of the season. It was the first time she had seen him play at Florida State.
Angola-Rodas is hoping to have his mom and his two sisters come to watch him play this season.
Back home, his sisters cheer him on by streaming his games online.
“My Mom told me that they watched as many games as they could on ESPN,” said Angola-Rodas. “She said my sisters get very emotional every time they are asked about me. They say they are proud of their brother, how he is playing basketball in the United State and how he looks out for them.
“That makes me keep going and work harder and harder every day.”
By Jacob Rosuck
Florida State Sports Information