09 Jun AUBD’s Deng Deng Signs – Sydney
Deng Deng is very much apart of the AUBD family. We spent many years training and travelling together which builds a solid friendship. We also acknowledge the important role that Deng played in solidifying AUBD’s international dominance in the early 2010’s. It was a great partnership, as we helped establish and prepare Deng, he helped establish the AUBD brand for the next generation.
“AUBD is a family to me…its bigger than just a basketball program. Its where I learned the basic structure of basketball. It taught me with hard work and determination anything is possible. I’ve learned a lot and continue to learn from Sedale Threatt Sr. AUBD helped me get into schools such as Box Hill, Lee College, Baylor University and is continuing to help me with my professional basketball career.”
Our First Encounter
When I initially saw Deng Deng, we were playing pickup on a summer Sunday afternoon at MSAC in 2011. There were probably about 20 – 25 guys there and the competition was pretty fierce. Most of the guys were regulars. This usually included players from the Big V / SEABL, retired pros and some young players from around Melbourne. At this particular time you didn’t really want to lose. If you did, you wouldn’t get back on the court for at least 45 minutes.
As usual, my team had won about 2 or 3 games in a row but something happened to one of my teammates (injury, had to leave…I can’t really remember) and I needed a sub. I could use some size…Lanard Copeland’s team was coming on. I had been talking trash since to him since I got off the plane in Australia 7 years prior (and on it…we flew over together). Lanard arrived a bit late this Sunday and had to wait (he didn’t like this very much). I had been talking some smack to him while he was waiting on the sideline. From memory it had something to with him arriving late because he had to take his nana nap. (He was getting old) He was really raring to beat me…bragging rights at the time were important.
With this knowledge, I knew I needed a primary defender to put on Lanard (I couldn’t do it…he’s too big for me). I surveyed the sideline to find a suitable replacement. Most of the guys were regulars who I was familiar with and then there was this tall, lanky kid. He had to be about 6’9 standing on the side waiting to get on and he looked like he could play. I never saw him before…This was chancy but he was big enough to match up with Lanard which was enough for me (I planned on doubling Lanard when he got the ball anyway). I told him, “you’re running with me”. He said “OK”. I asked him his name. He said “Deng”.
To be honest, I don’t remember much of the game except Lanard and this kid, Deng, going at it. They were competing offensively and defensively, not giving each other an inch. As we got further into the game, these 2 started to start playing VERY physical and talking trash to each other. I knew it was getting serious because I was taking some verbal jabs at Lanard and he didn’t respond…he was too caught up with this kid Deng. Now I’m not sure exactly what happened but all of a sudden, the game just stops. Lanard and Deng are forehead to forehead using some very colorful language. At this point, I’m sure fisticuffs are about to ensue but they’re separated before anything further happens.
Deng & AUBD
Now, I hadn’t seen to many pros in Australia go at Lanard like this…let alone a kid. He didn’t back down from the challenge and held his own. I followed him out to get some water and invited him to AUBD and the rest is history.
Deng came into our program and from there we helped in him get into Box Hill Senior Secondary College where he excelled both academically and athletically under Kevin Goorgian. He trained extensively under the tutelage of AUBD coaches Sedale Threatt Sr & Jr., Lanard Copeland, Darryl MacDonald & Neal Wen. He went on 2 AUBD USA Tours where he dominated earning various individual awards and helping lead our team to multiple tournament titles.
During his 2nd USA Tour with AUBD, Deng and our Senior Team which included also included current NBL players Kuany Kuany & Majok Deng, Michael Dow, Mathew Schulz, Murray Hooper, Darrean Wyatt, and Mawut Machar took the American west coast by storm. In the Clovis East tournament in Fresno, California, the sold out crowd were literally chanting “Deng” for most of the Championship game against Long Beach Poly. At the time Long Beach Poly were ranked 10th in the USA. We ended up losing the game by a couple but was still a great effort. We had high school girls showing up to our hotel in each city looking for Deng Deng.
The Big Show
His success at both Box Hill and AUBD helped him earn a full scholarship to Lee College in Texas. After 2 outstanding seasons at Lee, he moved onto Baylor University where he played for 1 year. After finishing up at Baylor Deng started his pro career playing in the NBA G-League with the Texas Legends coached by Nick Van Exel, former teammate of Sedale Threatt Sr at the LA Lakers.
After this, he played for Tadamon in Lebanon and has just come back to Australia to play in the NBL signing a 2 year deal with the Sydney Kings…where Lanard Copeland is the assistant coach.
Myself and my father are very proud of Deng and wish him all the best in basketball and life!