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Posted under: News

Maryland Native Playing Professional Basketball In Ukraine Said He's Stuck In The Country

The 6-foot-5 guard said his team refused to let him leave the country before the attack.

Maurice "Mo" Creek, a Maryland native playing professional basketball in a Ukrainian league, said he's now stuck in the war-torn European country.

"My mother is crying every day, my father is worried sick, my brothers are calling me nonstop every day," Creek told ABC 7. 

The 6-foot-5 guard is stranded in the city of Mykolaiv as Russia continues to launch attacks across the country. He said he has been hiding in his apartment or in a bomb shelter, hoping to stay safe from the explosions nearby. 

While the U.S. Embassy in Ukraine is closed, Creek has been staying in touch with his agent and his family in Maryland. So far, however, he hasn't found a plan to safely cross the border. 

Creek, who plays for MBC MYKOLAIV of the Ukrainian Basketball SuperLeague, said the team refused to let him leave when he tried to escape before the conflict escalated. The team, according to Creek, downplayed the war and told him he wouldn't get paid if he left. 

The former University of Indiana athlete said the team has now told him that they're trying to find a car for him so he can drive four hours across the Western border into Moldova. Still, Creek doesn't know if that promise will ever be true.

"I have no idea of my plan tomorrow," he said in a text to ABC 7 sports anchor Scott Abraham. "I'll have to wait until the morning."

Creek's parents, Pammy and Michael Morgan, said they haven't been sleeping well while worrying about their son.

"Mike and I haven't really slept at all," Pammy said, according to ABC 7. "We've been trying to sleep in shifts, so we don't miss a text or phone call or anything."

The anxious mother said she was overcome with emotion when her son sent her a text message to say "I love you."

"I've been trying to hold it together for him, for his siblings, for my husband, just for everybody," she said. "I look at pictures around the house or things that remind me of him and I just find myself breaking down, crying."

As they desperately try to bring their child back home, the family has reached out to Maryland Sen. Ben Cardin for help. They have also requested assistance from the U.S. Department of State. The Morgans hope to hear back soon from anybody who can help them. The family has additionally launched a GoFundMe page to raise money for transportation and other resources their son may need. 

Other Black immigrants who are trapped in Ukraine have expressed concerns about racism, Africa News reports. Nigerian presidential spokesperson Garba Shehu said there have been reports about Ukrainian police and security personnel "refusing to let Nigerians board buses and trains" to Poland.

"It is important that everyone is treated with dignity and without favor," Shehu said, according to Africa News.

Joanna Tarnawska, Poland's ambassador to Nigeria, said the accusations are false.

"Everyone receives equal treatment. I can assure you that, according to the information I have, some Nigerian nationals have already crossed the border to Poland," Tarnawska told reporters, according to Africa News.

Korrine Sky, a 26-year-old medical student living in Ukraine, said African students have been told that the country is "prioritizing Ukrainians."

"Some people have gone to get buses, but they're not allowing Black people basically onto the buses. They're prioritizing Ukrainians. That's what they say," Sky told Insider.

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