Whether or not you are a Zag fan, there is at least one Florida State player who, we are willing to bet, you will root for.
Braian Angola is a 6’6” senior guard for the Seminoles and a native of Columbia. Prior to leading FSU to the Sweet Sixteen, Angola was a standout player for North Idaho College from 2014-2016.
“He plays well. He can defend, rebound the basketball. Shoot it. He does everything,” said Corey Symons, Angola’s former head coach.
During his tenure with NIC, Angola helped lead the Cardinals to an undefeated season and a run in the NJCAA tournament.
“He could shoot it. His personality just takes up the room,” Symons said.
Angola’s story is an impressive one. After growing up in the Columbian city of Villanueva, Angola moved to Henderson, Nevada to play high school basketball at Findlay Prep, a program known for its success on the court. At Findlay, Angola played alongside future Zag great Nigel Williams-Goss.
Angola would eventually be recruited to North Idaho College to play for Symons.
“Once you get to know Braian, it’s just amazing what kind of a special kid he is,” Symons said.
The coach had a prior connection to Findlay and had Angola on his radar for some time.
“It was a great experience for me. Especially being in Coeur d’Alene,” said Angola on Wednesday.
Angola noted that he arrived in the U.S. speaking minimal English and was appreciative of those around him.
“It was the best time of my life. I’m grateful to be where I am now,” he said.
In addition to being thousands of miles from home, Angola’s father passed away prior to his arrival at North Idaho College.
“He’s had a tough life. He’s just that guy that keeps on keeping on,” Symons said.
Thursday’s game against Gonzaga will likely be an emotional one for not just Angola, but Symons too. Angola is the first former NIC player to appear in a Sweet 16, according to Symons. On top of that, Angola has previously scrimmaged against several GU players.
“It’s an unbelievable opportunity for us to make something for [Florida State],” Angola said.
Symons, who admits he typically roots for Gonzaga, said he will be somewhat torn come Thursday.
“We’re Zag fans, but we’re Braian fans even more,” said a smiling Symons as he wore Florida State apparel.