Loul Michael Deng is a professional basketball player who was born in Sudan, but has a British passport as well. Deng, a small forward, escaped the civil war in Sudan and came to Egypt where he met Manute Bol, a former NBA player. Deng learned the art of playing basketball with Bol and after being granted political asylum in Britain, moved with his family to London.
Soccer and basketball became Deng’s passion in life and he went on to represent England in both sports at the under-15 level. He decided to begin playing basketball at the Brixton Basketball Club and while playing for them, represented England at the European Junior Men’s Qualifying Tournament. The 13-year old averaged 40 points and 14 rebounds per game and was named MVP of the tournament. He then took England to the finals of the European Junior National Tournament and won his second MVP award with a 34-point average per game.
Deng decided to pursue basketball professionally and moved to the home of the NBA, the United States of America. He joined the Blair Academy where he teamed up with Charlie Villanueva, a future NBA player. Along with Villanueva, Deng was named as the team captain and went on to become one of the most promising high school players in his senior year.
Deng was named to the Parade Magazine and USA Today All-American first teams and was also picked for the McDonald’s High School All-America game, however he was forced to sit out after picking up a leg injury. Deng went on to attend Duke University where he played just one season. In that season, he played 37 games at 15.1 points per game, leading Duke to the Final Four of the 2004 NCAA Tournament. He led all rookies in scoring, rebounding and FG percentage, becoming only the 10th player in the history of the ACC to do so.
At the end of his freshman year, Deng decided to declare for the 2004 NBA Draft and was picked at 7th overall by the Phoenix Suns. Immediately after the trade, the Suns traded him out to the Chicago Bulls based on a prior agreement between the two teams. Deng began his rookie season in fine style until a wrist injury ended his season after just 61 games.
He was still named to the NBA All-Rookie First Team before returning to the Bulls just before the playoffs. Deng ended the season with 11.7 points per game average, scoring a high of 30 points against the Dallas Mavericks.
The sophomore season saw Deng continue his good work, especially in March and April when he helped the Bulls reach the playoffs again. His scoring improved to 14.3 points per game while his rebounding was up to 6.6, up from 5.3 in his rookie season.