The world's newest nation might also turn into the next big hotspot for basketball scouts to plunge into. South Sudan gained its independence on July 9 after voting on the measure last January, establishing itself as an independent state. Not coincidentally, Chicago Bulls forward Luol Deng was in his home region to help spearhead a basketball clinic bent on growing the game in the new South Sudan, while giving local youths an opportunity to learn about a sport that is rarely played in the country.
Luol took over the one basketball court in South Sudan's capital of Juba, furthering the work of former Syracuse standout Kueth Duany, who works in the country to try and raise awareness of the game, and possibly give talented youngsters a chance at securing the same sort of college education Duany received in return for helping Syracuse to the 2003 national title. Duany couldn't be at the camp on July 9 as his wife was having a baby back in the United States, but Deng was there to put the kids on the right basketball track.
Robert Padavick of the Enough Project to End Genocide was nice enough to supply Yahoo! Sports with some first-hand video:
He also had a sit-down interview with Luol and John Prendergast of the Enough Project to End Genocide:
All the more reason why Deng remains one of pro basketball's most admired players. And heads up, college scouts. There were some pretty good chest passes in that first clip. Thumbs out on the pass, kids.
Thumbs up on your independence, South Sudan.
- Luol Deng
- Kueth Duany
- South Sudan