UNC alum working in Africa makes trip to Final Four

Sunday, April 3, 2016
UNC alum working in African makes trip to Final Four
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Jimmy Leak

HOUSTON (WTVD) -- Watching the Carolina Tar Heels on the basketball court this season from Africa wasn't easy for Jimmy Leak.

The UNC alum travels to Kenya and Ethiopia often as an education advisor for Nuru International.

"The internet is sort of in and out. You have to get up at like 4 a.m. because of the time difference," he said, laughing.

But he never missed a chance to see them play or recruit new fans.

"I gave one of our driver friends one of my UNC shirts when I left there in 2014, and so he wears it around. Another one has a hat and stuff like that, so I try to spread the UNC love all around," said Leak.

Leak, a Durham native, was born and bred a Tar Heel.

"My dad went to UNC and his dad went to UNC as well, and I started going to football games at 2 years old," he said.

So when UNC made it to the Final Four in Houston, Leak found a way to get there.

"It's really exciting. This team has been sort of up and down through the year. They've had a lot of challenges. It's really great to see them come together in this last part of the year and be here," said Leak.

The last time Leak went to the semi-finals in 2012 he got lucky.

"My wife and I got engaged at that Final Four in New Orleans," he said. "We are expecting a little Tar Heel."

Jimmy Leak and his wife

While the Tar Heels weren't so fortunate that year, Leak believes this time around his team can take home the national title, so he is wearing his favorite Tar Heels tennis shoes for the weekend.

"My wife got them for me for Christmas so maybe they'll bring us a little bit of luck," he laughed.

Because a little luck can't hurt.

"I get really superstitious so I don't like to give predictions, but we're a very good team, and I think if we play our best, we can win. Knock on wood," he laughed.

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