Deng Adel, a former Scout.com top 20 and five-star prospect, has shown flashes of what made him one of the nation's top recruits during the early stages of Louisville's preseason schedule. On Saturday afternoon, in front of 9,114 at the KFC Yum! Center, the 6-foot-7 freshman put on a show that indicates he's becoming more comfortable with his role and expectations.
Playing for the Red team in Saturday's intrasquad scrimmage, Adel poured in 35 points on 12 of 18 shooting to lead a 97-81 win over the White team. A dunk at the 17:42 mark of the first half started his offensive explosion, which consisted of a mix of jumpers and attacking the rim. His energy, which also led to nine rebounds and six assists, sparked the win.
"Deng carried us," said fellow freshman Donovan Mitchell. "He really did carry the scoring lead and almost had a triple-double. I think we all rallied behind him."
While his point total is certainly noteworthy, Adel's confidence going to the rim and drawing fouls, along with being an effective free throw shooter, proved to be equally valuable. He drew five fouls, including a pair on Quentin Snider and Damion Lee, and converted 7 of 8 free throws during the first half. He finished the game 9 of 10 from the charity stripe.
"That's what coach praises, attacking the rim and getting to the foul line," explained Adel, adding, "he wants everybody to drive."
What fans witnessed on Saturday afternoon didn't come as a surprise to his fellow teammates. Mitchell, who added 18 points and five steals for the Red team, says the team see's a similar effort "everyday" from Adel.
"When he's in transition he's unstoppable," said Mitchell. "He's a tremendous athlete and he can do anything, inside or outside."
Sophomore point guard Quentin Snider was equally complimentary.
"He can score either way," said Snider. "He's got a nice jumpshot inside the three-point line and he's working on his three-point shot."
Adel often guards graduate transfer Damion Lee during practices. On Saturday, the 6-foot-6 Lee led the White team with a double-double of 33 points and 13 rebounds.
"It's helping me get better and it's helping him get better, as well," said Adel. "It's a lot of fun and we talk a lot of trash to get each other better, so it's definitely improving each of our games."
Adel also credits his time working on his game as much as possible.
"I'm starting to become a little more consistent in practices. I'm working on my game every night and during individuals. I definitely have more confidence in my game and that's allowing me to perform better."