'Controlling what I can': USF star basketball player still waiting for answers on visa status

Russell Tchewa is a force on the basketball court for the University South Florida's men's basketball team, but he's been stopped in his tracks. 

"I'm just controlling what I can control. I can't do anything," Tchewa admits from his family's home in his native Cameroon. 

The USF junior, who is also a member of his country's national basketball team, took a trip home to Cameroon back in May when he found out his father was sick with COVID-19. 

Tchewa's trip was supposed to only last one month but when he reapplied for his student visa, he was denied. 

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Four months later, Tchewa is still waiting for any news and any answers. 

"I think we did everything we can. Hopefully, something will change soon," Tchewa said. 

Tchewa's friends, teammates and coaches back in Tampa are hoping to see their seven-foot star soon, though.

"I wake up every day and say, 'Today is the day that thing is going to be switched on the website,' where it will say accepted or admitted," said Bulls Head Coach Brian Gregory. 

Gregory describes Tchewa as, "maybe one of the best big guys in our league."

"The simple fact is he's a hard working kid, wants to be a great player and puts in the time," Gregory said. 

Never one to get discouraged himself, Tchewa is also trying to stay optimistic that he will be able to return to his teammates soon. 

"I always have to keep the faith," Tchewa said. "They could call me tomorrow, or tonight." 

In the meantime, the USF men's basketball team has started to work out together while Tchewa tries to stay in shape the best he can by working out back at home.

The Bulls season opener is set for November 1, but they hope Tchewa is back long before then.