WESTFIELD, Ind. - Deng Gak isn’t the type of player to focus strictly on offense.
Gak, a four-star power forward from Blair Academy in Blairstown, N.J., is part of perhaps the most intimidating front lines on the EYBL circuit. He teams with five-star center Mohamed Bamba on PSA Cardinals, which is 6-1 through two sessions.
“We want to block every shot,” Gak said. “I have a 7-4 wingspan. He has like a 7-8 or 7-9. We really don’t want to let any layups. You’ve gotta shoot over us. That’s our mindset every game.”
Being defense-first has already endeared Gak to many college coaches.
Alabama, Cincinnati, Kansas, Minnesota, Rutgers, Seton Hall and SMU are among his scholarship offers. Connecticut, Indiana, Duke and Notre Dame have been keeping tabs on the 6-foot-10, 210-pound prospect.
Gak attends the same school that produced Notre Dame forward Elijah Burns. Four-star guard Brandon Randolph, another Irish target, also plays for PSA Cardinals. Still, prior knowledge about the Irish is lacking.
“I don’t know much,” Gak said. “A kid from my school last year went there. But I don’t really know much right now. I’m definitely going to look into it.”
Right now Gak is open to all suitors, especially those with which he has some familiarity. Gak watched the Irish a few times last season and, while he didn’t come away with a thorough evaluation, had positive things to say.
“I like their team,” he said. “Good coach. I don’t think I’ve watched enough for that. But they just look like they’re together more than other teams I’ve seen. They seem like a family.”
Gak listed Connecticut, Indiana and Alabama as some of the new programs involved that will get a closer look. But until things slow down with the AAU circuit, he likely won’t kick recruiting into a higher gear.
Visits in the next couple months are the next priority.
“I want to do them this summer,” Gak said. “Definitely this summer. Maybe during our breaks, our AAU breaks, like next weekend when we don’t have games. That’s when I want to schedule them.”