was named to 2006 Sophomore Team T-Mobile Rookie Challenge. Averaged 11.7 ppg, 5.3 rpg, 2.2 apg and 27.3 mpg, while shooting .434 from the floor, including .265 from three-point range, and .741 from the free throw line. Three point-rebound double-doubles this season.
Declared himself an early entry candidate for the 2004 NBA Draft after one season at Duke. Appeared in 37 games, including 32 starts…Blue Devils’ second-leading scorer (15.1 ppg) and rebounder (6.1 rpg). Earned Third Team All-ACC honors and was named Most Outstanding Player of the NCAA Atlanta Regional helping lead Duke to the Final Four.
Luol Deng took time during Basketball without Borders to answer your e-mail questions.
When was the last time you were in Africa?
I left Africa when I was nine years old – I left Sudan when I was five, then I spent four years in Egypt and left when I was nine. So this is my first time back and my first time in South Africa.
What are your impressions of South Africa?
I think there is a lot of improvement compared to other African countries, but there’s still work to be done. But it all brings back memories, some of the places we saw is just like what I grew up around so for lot of these guys all they has seen were pictures, but for me it was pictures that I actually remembered so that was the hardest thing to deal with.
Are you impressed with the level of play at camp?
I think the kids are amazing athletes I think skill-wise there’s a lot of work that needs to be done to improve their skills but I’ve seen a few kids who are very good. Really talented and you know the up-side is great, they are tremendous athletes and a lot of these kids will take what they learned here back to their homelands and work on it and hopefully we will see big improvements.
Are there any campers from Sudan here?
Unfortunately there aren’t any this year but there were last year. There are a few Egyptian players that I have spoken to, and actually there’s one kid from where I used to live in Egypt and actually he plays in the same club that my brothers used to play in. To me that was kid amazing so I’ve been talking to him a little bit. I just find it really weird that after all these years I’d come across a kid who lives where I used to live. It’s a really small world.
I think I remember reading that you know Manute Bol well. How is it seeing him here?
Oh I know Manute very well. I see him all the time. During the year I try and see him as many times as possible. Manute has been great. He has really helped me out in my life and I know that if I’m playing this game then it thanks to him, so I owe him a lot. It’s just great to see him out here
You have been to a number of different community events during Basketball without Borders. How was that for you and how important is it – as an NBA player – to be able to give back to other people?
I think it’s very important for everyone else too. I’ve lived through this you know but when I call back home and speak to my family I tell them about this. For me though the memories are still very clear. So I think it’s great for all these guys to come here to see this. I think a lot of them will have a different perspective towards life – there are so many things we take for granted so we really don’t know how lucky we are. Here we are worrying about little things and here you see what some people have to live through it really makes you think. It’s great that the NBA does this and hopefully in the future there will be more players who see this because a lot of us can actually make a difference; even one of us can, but the more the better.
What are you working on this off-season?
I’ve been working out and putting on weight and working on my strength more than anything. Lat summer I had a wrist injury and so I wasn’t able to lift all year ‘round so I had a hard time with that playing in the NBA. But this summer I’ve put on weight; I’ve tried to get stronger and more athletic at the same time. Just being stronger will help. I’m really excited about this coming season and I will do whatever I can to help out my team.
Hi Luol. I’m interested to know what you think it will be like playing with Ben Wallace?
Ben Wallace is a great addition. He fits our program so well. Not just Ben either but we have Adrian Griffin, PJ Brown all are coming in with experience and will be there to help out us young guys. Even if I don’t really consider us young as it’s my third year but those guys know a whole lot more than us and no matter what we say, they have been in the league longer than us and they have been through so many more situations that we’ve been through so it will be great for the team to have that combination of young and old.