February 15, 2011
Iowa watching 2012 big man
Three years ago Mading Thok arrived in the United States hoping to become a college basketball player. Three years later the native of Sudan seems to have found a home at Sioux City East High School. The 6-foot-11 prospect in the Class of 2012 is still waiting on his first scholarship offer, but college coaches certainly have him on their radar.
After spending two years at Mt. Michael Benedictine Academy in Nebraska, Thok, whose guardian in the U.S. is former Wisconsin player Duany Duany, transferred to Sioux City East this fall. As a result of his transfer, Thok was forced to the sidelines until January. He recently returned to the court and is starting to get comfortable once again.
"It feels good to get back out there again," he said. "I had to sit because of the transfer rules and we have been playing pretty good."
The transfer to Sioux City East allows Thok to play alongside his friend and AAU teammate on Martin Brothers, Adam Woodbury, who is also a 7-footer. He has enjoyed playing with Woodbury and against him in practice.
"It helps because every time you go against someone as big as you, it can only help you get better. I think it has helped both of us."
During his time on the sidelines, Thok says he has been working on his post moves and learning to play more aggressively around the basket. With college coaches already having Woodbury on their radar, they are also taking note of Thok and his potential at the college level.
"I have been talking to Nebraska and they want me to come out there on Saturday," Thok said. "Iowa has been showing interest. They are talking to me and they have been out to see us."
Coach Fran McCaffery was in Des Moines on Saturday watching Thok, along with Woodbury and future Hawkeye Josh Oglesby square off at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines.
Iowa and Nebraska aren't alone in pursuit of Thok, who has he has received interest from Illinois, New Mexico, Creighton, Ball State, UNLV, San Francisco, Oklahoma State, and UNI. Right now none of the schools have extended a scholarship offer, which means this spring and summer on the AAU circuit will be important for his scholarship opportunities.
"It is one of the things that I am looking forward to right now," Thok said of the AAU season. "I need to come out and play hard this summer to earn a scholarship."
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