One of the West Coast’s top wings in 2019 comes from Tucson (Ariz.) Salpointe in Majok Deng.
The 6-foot-5, 180-pound small forward is ranked 41st in Scout’s 2019 rankings due to his size, length, athleticism, motor, consistently improving jumper, rebounding and feel.
“I think I improved my defense a lot this season,” Deng said. “I feel like I’m improving my ball handling, shooting and basketball IQ. I’m doing better at coming off screens and knowing when to attack or not.
“I need to make sure I’m aggressive on defense because the offense will take care of itself as long as I know what shots to take and I keep moving. I need to improve on reading the ball better on rebounds.”
“Now UCLA is talking to me constantly, Oregon is talking to me, Cal is talking to me, Stanford is, and I’ve talked to Louisville and Gonzaga as well,” Deng said. “It’s kind of been overwhelming but at the same time I don’t let it bother me because if I work hard it will take care of itself.”
There will likely be several more offers heading Deng’s way, but for now he already has a handful of programs trying to land him.
“Right now schools who have offered that are talking to me the most are Arizona, Vanderbilt, Utah, GCU and Georgia Tech,” Deng said, before breaking down what he likes about each of them.
Arizona: “They’re great and I watch them a lot. They seem to know what they’re doing recruiting wise. They recruit well. They’re a big school and the top right now in the conference and one of the best in the country.”
Vanderbilt: “They’re a great school. Their education is something I like a lot and their coaches are great from the head coach to the staff. They’re family guys and want best for players even outside of basketball. I want to study and play the game I love.”
Utah: “They’re great people. Coach K (Larry Krystkowiak) and Coach (Tommy) Connor have come down to watch me. They tell me that if I commit to them they’ll be good for me. I like Utah and I like their weather. It’s close to Tucson and I could easily go there and back.”
Grand Canyon: “It’s here. T.J. (Benson) is a cool guy. Dan Majerle, what he’s already done I have to look at. They have a great education. Next year I could see them being in the tournament. It’s home and I could drive two hours there and back.”
Georgia Tech: “Josh Pastner is there and he knows the game. The things he has done this year are impressive; they beat North Carolina and other big teams that no one thought Georgia Tech would beat. They’re in Atlanta so I could live somewhere far from family and still come back.”
One of the biggest decisions which Deng will have to make in his recruitment will be whether or not to stay home.
“You think about staying home and my family wants to see me play but if I don’t fit in at Arizona I have to see myself fitting in somewhere else and I see myself fitting in at a lot of places,” Deng said.
“I need to keep my choices open until I know what I want to do with basketball and academics. I’m a sophomore and don’t know where I want to live. I want to just keep playing.”
Deng isn’t putting a timetable on his recruitment for now.
“I’m not really freaking out about it and I’m taking my time,” he said. “I’ll take it day by day and let it come. It will take care of itself at the end of the day.”