The mark of a great player is his ability to affect the outcome of a game even when he's not on top of his.
At the recent Scholastic Play by Play Classic in Philadelphia, such was the case with outstanding 6-7 junior Luol Deng of Blair Academy in Blairstown, N.J.
From the opening tip, it was obvious that it just was not Deng's night. He turned the ball over, he missed shots, but he never stop competing and trying to contribute.
And in the end, he was able to help the Buccaneers eke out a 56-55 victory over Life Center Academy.
"This was probably one of the worst games of his career, but he still did a lot of things down the stretch to help us win the game," Blair Head Coach Joe Mantegna said.
In particular, Deng hit all five of his attempted free throws, which turned out to be very crucial in a one point contest. And he went into the low post instead of floating out on the perimeter, where he used his sharp passing skills to set his teammates up for open looks.
So even though in the final tally he scored just 11 points, Deng had as much of an impact on the game as anyone.