Tag: adidas Unrivaled Camp


From Sudan, to Australia, to Louisville: Deng Adel’s journey to America

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CHICAGO — Deng Adel has only been in the United States for a year or so, but the 6-foot-7 Class of 2015 wing is already acclimating well to the American style of play and lifestyle.

Basketball wasn’t even Adel’s first sport — that would be soccer — but now through hard work and skill development, basketball has given the native of South Sudan — by way of Australia — a chance to play at Louisville.

“I was born in South Sudan and then I moved to Australia in 2004 and lived there for about 10 years then came here. I used to play soccer though, I wasn’t really into basketball,” Adel told NBCSports.com. “But I moved locations and the only people I would hang around with played basketball, so I just kind of changed sports.”

Basketball now takes up so much of Adel’s time that he could barely watch the World Cup, as he instead travels the country playing in basketball camps and tournaments. Instead of soccer highlights, he watches YouTube videos of NBA greats to study new moves. Deng admitted the transition to the United States hasn’t been easy, but he’s making it happen through hard work.

“It’s been good. The speed is a lot different over here and there’s a lot more athletes. So I have to adjust to that,” Adel said. “I always wanted to play college basketball and I felt that coming here earlier would get me the exposure I needed to really land at a good school.”

Leaving Australia meant Adel going without his family and friends — the friends that introduced him to his new love of basketball — but it also meant that he’s now in position to play for a national championship-winning coach in Rick Pitino at Louisville. That kind of opportunity drives Deng to be at his best on a day-to-day basis.

“It was hard. Right now, I miss my family, but I know that it’s better for me to be here and get this exposure and have the opportunity for me to go to college,” Adel said. They understand what I’m trying to do, but at the same time, it was really hard.

“Just the guys that played basketball with me led to me watching college basketball, and from there, that’s what I wanted to do: go to college and get an education. Getting an education is the most important thing to me and my family. But basketball gives me the chance to go to college.”

The transition will be a bit easier for Adel because he is cousins with current Louisville center Mangok Mathiang. Mathiang, like Adel, is another Sudo-Aussie and transitioned from playing under high school coach Loren Jackson to Louisville. Jackson has coached a couple of Sudanese transplants into college basketball, including Mathiang and former DePaul forward Mac Koshwal, but Adel is more of a wing player.

“I think he’s a Luol Deng that can really put the ball on the floor a little bit better. That’s kind of who I compare him to,” Jackson told NBCSports.com. “Maybe at the next level he can play two-guard. I play him at the two-guard so he can handle and read ball screens and show a lot of versatility. He posts up, he fills the lanes, he shows coming off of ball screens. We’re just trying to make him a complete player.”

Now that Adel is in America, it’s basketball all the time. In Australia, Adel didn’t get basketball on television as much as he would have liked, but it’s different now that’s he’s here. His basketball dreams are coming true very, very quickly.

“You don’t really get a chance to watch it over there; they don’t show basketball on TV as much,” Adel said. “Guys that played basketball, I just kind of did what they did. And then March Madness started…”

Adel smiles as his past thoughts of the NCAA Tournament trail off. College basketball wasn’t prevalent in Australia, but soon Adel will have the chance to make his own NCAA Tournament at Louisville.

adidas Unrivaled Camp Day 3 Recap: Jaylen Brown/Brandon Ingram II was special, Kobi Simmons, Deng Adel have strong days

Jaylen Brown and Brandon Ingram remain two of eight uncommitted All-Americans (adidas)
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CHICAGO — The adidas Unrivaled Camp chugged along on Saturday as some of the nation’s best players continued to perform well in front of a lot of college coaches. Although Chase Jeter continued to play at a high level, other high-end prospects have also had strong performances throughout the week as the camp gets more into the thick of things.

But the matchup that dominated the headlines on Saturday night was a rematch of the camp’s opening game when five-star small forwards Jaylen Brown and Brandon Ingram battled in an incredible display of high-level scoring.

Jaylen Brown and Brandon Ingram II turns into an instant classic: As two of the best players in the adidas Unrivaled Camp, it made for headlines when No. 3 overall prospect Jaylen Brown battled No. 25 overall prospect Brandon Ingram in the opening game at the Unrivaled Camp on Thursday afternoon.

Even more surprising was the way Ingram came out and outplayed Brown, as the wiry 6-foot-8 Ingram went 8-for-9 from the field while Brown was only 2-for-10.

But the rematch of the Class of 2015 wings Saturday night was special.

In Thursday’s game, the two five-star wings rarely defended each other, but this time around, you could tell Brown had a chip on his shoulder and wanted to go directly at Ingram.

And with his brute strength on the wing and general overall intensity, you don’t want to mess with an angry Jaylen Brown.

But to Ingram’s credit, he never backed down from Brown in the second matchup either.

It made for a fun back-and-forth battle of different types of players: Brown’s strength and physicality against Ingram’s slithery skill-based game.

The rest of their respective teams seemingly took a backseat to what was a tremendous one-on-one battle on the wing, which was physical and featured a number of high-level moves. Brown and Ingram went at each other hard each and every possession.

Some other players at the camp might have rested the final game to nurse injuries or fatigue, but that wasn’t going to happen with these two elite players.

Both of them finished 10-for-16 from the field, as Ingram finished with 26 points and three blocks and Brown tallied 21 points and five rebounds. But Brown’s team got revenge by picking up the win. His intensity lifted the rest of his team and they avenged a borderline embarrassing loss on the first day to Ingram’s team.

It was a fun game to cap off a week full of camp games before Sunday’s all-star games. Brown showed why he’s a consensus top-5 player in the 2015 class while Ingram continued a very strong week.

Kobi Simmons takes control: Kobi Simmons is one of the most fun-to-watch prospects in all of high school basketball. A 6-foot-5 point guard from Georgia, Simmons is jet quick and athletic enough to do a tremendous amount of damage in the open floor. It’s why he’s the No. 15 player in Rivals‘ Class of 2016 rankings and among the top point guards in the country.

During the spring, Simmons was prone to some wild moments with the Atlanta Celtics, but at the Unrivaled Camp, he’s taken the reins as a steady lead guard. While Simmons can still take some wild shots in traffic, he also has a propensity to make them while drawing a lot of fouls. He’s just the classic case of a bad-shot taker being a bad-shot maker.

But as a point guard, Simmons has really shown well this week. Gone are the highlight-hunting alley-oop attempts and Simmons instead is moving the ball and making the easy pass. He’s good enough off-the-bounce where he can rack up assists and limit turnovers just by getting into the paint and making an easy pass to a big man for a layup or a wing shooter when the defense collapses. He’s had a solid week of play at adidas.

Deng Adel has a strong afternoon: In only his first year of American basketball, four-star Class of 2015 wing Deng Adel has quickly acclimated to the American style of play. A native of South Sudan, Adel moved to Australia in 2004 and coveted the chance to play college basketball in the United States and get an education, so he made the move to Florida to play at Victory Rock Prep under head coach Loren Jackson.

On the basketball court at adidas camp, Adel has shown some flashes of great play this week as his versatility really shows through in a major way. The No. 47 overall prospect in Rivals‘ 2015 rankings, Adel can knock in shots, put the ball on the floor and he’s also a skilled passer. As an athlete, Adel can impress with his leaping ability and his end-to-end speed is also very good. It’ll be interesting to watch Adel develop as he gets more adjusted to being in the United States and playing American competition.