In his short tenure living in the United States, Blair Academy's Luol Deng has garnered quite a few accolades.
But what sets Deng apart from many other top prospects in the Class of 2003 is his outstanding work ethic.
Deng, Rivalshoops' number two prospect in the Class of 2003, signed with Duke University last month. And even though Deng will battle against a lot of other talented Blue Devils when he arrives in Durham next fall, there's little doubt that Mike Krzyzewski will find ample minutes for the skilled 6-8 Sudanese swingman.
"I shot a lot during the Thanksgiving break," Deng said. "I stayed up with my brother [Ajou Ajou] in Connecticut during the break, and he worked me out and I shot a lot of shots."
Those shooting drills paid off handsomely on Wednesday night in Blair's 70-56 victory over West Nottingham Academy. Deng rung up the Rams for 24 points, including 13 during a decisive 27-6 third quarter surge.
"I thought when I came out tonight, my rhythm was really good on my shot," Deng said. "I was missing that at the War on the Shore, and a lot of that was due in part to the stress of my college decision and my schoolwork that I didn't get enough shots."
"I was kind of raw there [in Delaware] and I didn't want that to happen today," he concluded.
Deng knows he will face many challenges next winter as a freshman at Duke. The Blue Devils have as talented a group of freshmen as there is in the country this year with players like J.J. Redick, Sean Dockery, Shelden Williams and Shavlik Randolph.
The one thing that sets Deng apart from many of those players is his versatility and complete impact on the game. He's a terrific passer for his size, and he grabs big rebounds and he blocks shots that often lead to a fast break buckets on the other end. He's difficult to classify by position, and all you need to know is that he is a big time player who makes big time plays.
He's looking forward to doing the same in the ACC next year.
"I love the way that Duke plays and that's why I decided to go there," Deng said. "The best thing is that the coaches have stayed in touch with me just the same as when they were recruiting me."
"Sometimes, that doesn't happen with some schools," he continued. "My relationship with the coaches is really great."
It only promises to get stronger once Deng steps out on the court next fall.