Less than a year after coming to the U.S. from Australia, Bradenton, Fla., Victory Rock Prep forward Deng Adel has become one of the top college basketball recruits in the country.
Now, Adel has decided on his future.
The former soccer player and No. 18 ranked player in the Class of 2015, Adel committed on Monday night to the University of Louisville. He's the first commitment for U of L in the Class of 2015 and one of the highest-ranked recruits of the Rick Pitino-era at the school.
Adel came to the U.S. via Australia but is a native of South Sudan. He took the same path to U of L as current Cardinal Mangok Mathiang, who was also coached and had Loren Jackson - Adel's coach and guardian - as his guardian.
Cardinal Authority has this Q&A with Adel, who plays for Florida Elite. He participated last week at the adidas Unrivaled in Chicago.
CARDINAL AUTHORITY: How excited are you to get the process over with?
ADEL: "I am so excited because I really like Louisville. It's exciting for me."
CA: Louisville was one of the first schools to recruit you and they have Mangok. How long have you known Mangok?
ADEL: "He's like family to me. He's like my family. I have known him for a long time and he likes it at Louisville."
CA: You have had a great spring and summer and you have only been here a year. Do you feel like it took a while to get adjusted?
ADEL: "I am just enjoying playing over here and I tried to adjust to the competition. I just keep trying to build my confidence up."
CA: With your game, what have you been working on or what do you need to work on?
ADEL: "Just playing harder and trying to improve and play every day. I know there are a lot of things that I need to work on."
CA: What have you been told by the coaches at U of L?
ADEL: "They just tell me I still need to continue to improve but how much I have improved since I moved here. I've built a good relationship with (Mike Balado) and they tell me what I need to keep working on."
CA: So, what's the biggest difference in the basketball here. What did you have to make the biggest adjustment too?
ADEL: "The speed is a lot different over here and that took me a little while to get adjusted too. There are so many athletes."
CA: Was it always the plan for you to come to the states when you did (last fall)?
ADEL: "Yeah, I always wanted to play college basketball and I knew I needed to get the exposure. I really wanted to come here and play at a good school, that was my goal."
CA: Tell me your background?
ADEL: "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. And then I moved locations and the only people I would hang around with played basketball, so I just kind of changed sports."
CA: How good were you in soccer?
ADEL: "I was pretty good. I played it all of my life, so I was pretty good."
CA: Were you better than Mangok?
ADEL: "Of course. Of course, I was pretty good in soccer."
CA: So, how difficult was the decision to leave your family and do this?
ADEL: "It was so hard. Like right now, I miss my family but I know it's better for me to be here and get the exposure and then go to college. They understand what I am trying to do but at the same time, it was really hard."
CA: Are there guys - maybe Mangok - who did this before and you look up too?
ADEL: Mangok and I have like four people at my high school who are from Australia also, so it really wasn't that hard. I have some other people to be there with me."
CA: What was your exposure in Australia to basketball? Did you watch it?
ADEL: "They really don't show basketball a lot in Australia. Just the guys that played basketball with me led to me towards watching college basketball, and from there, it was like this is what I want to do. I wanted to go to college and get an education. For me and my family, getting an education is the most important thing. But basketball gives me the chance to go to college and that was pretty much the reason I did this."
CA: Talking about education, do you know what you will major in yet?
ADEL: "I am looking at business management right now, that's my first thing but I guess that it could change."
CA: What was your first exposure to the game of basketball in Australia?
ADEL: "Playing at the park with my friends. They went to a facility near by and I followed them and started to play and since then I have always been on YouTube searching for players and just watching videos."
CA: So, are there any players you watch a lot of and try to model your game after?
ADEL: "I watch a lot of KD (Kevin Durant), LeBron, I basically watch everybody that's at the top of the NBA and try to learn a little bit from what they do."
CA: You have improved a lot this spring. You said ballhandling and some other improvements are what you need the most. How are things going with your game?
ADEL: "I think it's going well. I am just trying to have fun and seeing what my future holds. It's been fun so far."
CA: So, what do you think about U of L coach Rick Pitino?
ADEL: "I like him. They run the style I like and they play just like we do (at Victory Rock). It's all the same stuff."
CA: What do the Louisville fans need to know about Deng Adel?
ADEL: "I'm a versatile wing who likes to run in transition and likes to get to the rack. I like to shoot the ball, can rebound and I play with a high, high energy. I think I can play in college right now, I just need to continue to get better."