By Dalton Ray–
One of the rising names for the men’s basketball team is sophomore forward Deng Adel. Injuries prevented him from getting on the court more as a freshman, but the Australian native is poised for a big year.
Coach Rick Pitino has raved over the past year about Adel’s intangibles, skill set and on-ball defense. While he still needs to add weight to his frame, Adel plays aggressive enough on both sides of the court to make up for it.
Last season, two of Adel’s best performances came against two of U of L’s toughest opponents in Duke and Virginia. In the two games combined, Adel scored 24 points and grabbed 10 rebounds in 49 minutes. In the second game against Duke, Adel faced the challenge of guarding the no. 2 in the 2016 NBA Draft, Brandon Ingram. Adel was able to hold his own as Ingram shot 3-for-10 from the field and committed 10 turnovers.
Playing behind captain Damion Lee also didn’t hep Adel’s minutes. Adel made a name for himself this August by blowing scouts away in the Adidas Nations camp. Draft Express tabbed Adel as the top college performer in the camp and oozed about his upside.
“Adel has the physical tools to be an impactful college player, something that will earn him some NBA looks. He still has a great deal of room for growth, as he learns how to play the game under control and at a high level consistently,” Julian Applebome wrote. “His sophomore season at Louisville will be worth monitoring closely, to see if he develops his perimeter skill-set, polish and feel for the game.”
U of L won’t have a set star or go-to guy to start the season, but by the end Deng could be the guy. Before coming to U of L, Adel was known for being able to knock down the midrange shot. After gaining respect from defenders, Adel would use the pump to get his defender off their feet and attack the basketball. With a full offseason under his belt, look for Adel to get back to this.
At a program like Louisville, most fans can name nearly every player on the roster. Adel is name U of L fans need to know because there’s a chance if he has a good season, you might see his name in NBA mock drafts in March.
Photo by Wade Morgen / The Louisville Cardinal