The Arizona Wildcats have offered a scholarship to Class of 2019 Salpointe guard/forward prospect Majok Deng, his AAU affilite Powerhouse Hoops announced in a tweet Sunday.
Arizona is the ninth known program to offer Deng, 6’5″ and 175 pounds. The others are Georgia Tech, Utah, ASU, Vanderbilt, New Mexico, Grand Canyon, Portland and San Francisco.
Concerning his scholarship offer from Sean Miller, Deng text-messaged Andy Morales of AllSportsTucson.com: “Thankful to have the opportunity and grateful for the teammates I have and it’s been a great season.”
When I observed Deng play with Powerhouse Hoops last summer in an AAU tournament in Las Vegas, I was impressed with how intense and focused Deng is on the court, especially on the defensive end.
As a sophomore, he averaged 9.5 points and 6.5 rebounds a game. He is averaging 17 points and 9 rebounds per game this year. He shooting an impressive 56 percent from the field, 40 percent from 3-point range and is making 78 percent of his free throw attempts.
He has a long wingspan, which accounts for his respected shot-blocking ability for the Lancers. He blocks 1.8 shots a game.
“That is the one stat that often gets lost in the mix as we stress verticality and contesting shots but avoid encouraging guys to come unglued or swing to block shots,” Salpointe coach Brian Holstrom mentioned to me. “He certainly alters a lot of shots.”
When I asked Deng in July about the scholarship offers he was receiving, he was blown away by the attention.
“It’s a true honor man, blessed, God is so great,” he said. “It means a lot, man. It means I need to keep driving and getting better, honestly.”
Deng is a refugee from Kenya who grew up in Sudan. He and his family fled war-ravaged Sudan by foot for Kenya.
He came to Tucson in 2011 amid the turmoil in his native country. He left without his father, who was one of the soldiers involved in the war there. His dad remains in Kenya working at a school.
Deng, his mom and three brothers moved to Tucson after receiving a long-awaited invitation from a family after awaiting word from the U.S. Resettlement Program.
He is working to put weight on his frame. His older brother Deng Deng, like many from Sudan and Kenya is a lean distance runner. Deng Deng ran at Cholla and graduated from there in 2015.
“I’m trying to gain some more weight,” Majok said. “Get some muscle on me and try to not get bullied while I’m out there on the court.”
With Majok only a sophomore, he has plenty of time to make a commitment.
Miller has one recruiting edge other than Majok playing in Tucson. Miller’s son Cameron is a senior guard with the Lancers.
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ALLSPORTSTUCSON.com publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner. He is a former Arizona Daily Star beat reporter for the Arizona basketball team, including when the Wildcats won the 1996-97 NCAA title. He has also written articles for CollegeAD.com, Bleacher Report, Lindy’s Sports, TucsonCitizen.com, The Arizona Republic, Sporting News and Baseball America, among many other publications. He has also authored the book “The Highest Form of Living”, which is available at Amazon.