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Luol Michael Deng (born April 16, 1985 in Waumarker, Sudanmarker) is a Sudanesemarker-Britishmarker professional basketball player for the National Basketball Association's Chicago Bulls and the Great Britain national basketball team. He is a small forward.

Early life

When he was young, his father Aldo, a member of the Sudanese parliament, moved the family to Egyptmarker to escape the Second Sudanese Civil War. In Egypt, they met former NBA center Manute Bol, another Dinka, who taught Deng's older brother, Ajou Deng, how to play basketball while also serving as a mentor for Luol himself. When they were granted political asylum, his family emigrated to South Norwoodmarker in London, England. Deng developed an interest in soccer and basketball, and was invited to join England's 15-and-under teams in both sports. During this time, he began his career at Brixton Basketball Club. At the age of 13, he played for England's squad in the European Junior Men's Qualifying Tournament, averaging 40 points and 14 rebounds. He was named the MVP of the tournament. Next, he led England to the finals of the European Junior National Tournament, where he averaged 34 points and earned another MVP award.

At the age of 14, Luol moved to the United States to play basketball at Blair Academymarker in New Jerseymarker, where one of his teammates was future NBA player Charlie Villanueva. Deng was also named a Tri-Captain at Blair along with Charlie Villanueva . During his senior year, Deng was considered the second most promising high school senior in America after LeBron James. He was named First Team All-America by Parade Magazine and USA Today, and was selected to play in the McDonald's High School All-America game, but could not play due to a foot injury. After graduation, he decided to attend Duke Universitymarker. In one season at Duke, he appeared in 37 games and made 32 starts. He averaged 30.1 minutes and scored 15.1 points per game en route to a berth in the 2004 Final Four. He is only the 10th freshman in ACC history to lead all rookies in scoring, rebounding, and field goal percentage.

Professional career

After one year at Duke, Deng entered the 2004 NBA Draft. He was picked seventh overall by the Phoenix Suns, but was immediately traded to the Chicago Bulls by prior agreement. Deng suffered a season-ending wrist injury late in his rookie season, but still made the NBA All-Rookie First Team to help the resurgent Bulls return to the playoffs for the first time in several years. Deng averaged 11.7 points per game, playing in 61 games. On 8 February, Deng recorded a double-double, including 30 points against the Dallas Mavericks.

In his second season, he posted strong performances throughout March and April to help the Bulls earn their second consecutive playoff berth. His offensive statistics improved in his sophomore season, increasing his scoring to 14.3 points per game, and increasing his rebounding to 6.6 per game, up from a 5.3 average his rookie season. Deng had four straight double-double performances from 28 February to 5 March, with at least ten points and rebounds in each game. In the playoffs, the Bulls faced off against the Miami Heat in a best of 7 game series. Deng came off the bench in all six games, averaging ten points per game.

For the 2006-07 season, Deng was the only Bull to start all 82 regular season games. All of his numbers continued to improve, and he led the team in minutes played (37.5) and field goal percentage (.517), while playing a strong second scoring option to Ben Gordon, with a marked improvement to 18.8 points per game. Deng also notably rarely committed fouls on defense (2.00 per game), despite the minutes he played and frequently being outsized in matchups against power forwards such as Kevin Garnett.

On 27 December 2006 Deng was driving the lane when Miami Heat player James Posey grabbed him, causing concern that Deng may have re-injured his wrist. Posey earned a flagrant foul, was ejected and suspended for one game. Deng scored 32 points against the Cavaliers just three nights later, resolving concern that the wrist would be re-injured. On 26 March 2007 Deng posted a new career-high 38 points to lead the Bulls to a home victory against the Portland Trail Blazers. Deng was in rhythm, converting a spectacular 18 of his 25 shots from the field.

Deng continues to credit Manute Bol as a major influence, saying "He has really helped me out in my life and I know that if I'm playing this game then it's thanks to him, so I owe him a lot." "Manute started me with this whole thing and basketball. Our relationship is one where he is like an older brother or a father to me. He gives me a lot of advice."

Deng has won three major sportsmanship awards. On 3 May 2007, Deng won the NBA's sportsmanship award in a vote by players. The award honors the player who best exemplifies ethical behavior, fair play and integrity on the court. For that award, the league will donate $25,000 on his behalf to Pacific Garden Missionmarker, the oldest continuously operating rescue mission in the country. Deng also won the 2006-2007 Golden Icon Award for Best Sports Role Model. The awards are presented by the Travolta entertainment family.. Most recently, he won the 2008 UN Refugee Agency's Humanitarian of the Year Award as part of the UNHCR's ninemillion.org campaign to bring education and sports to millions of displaced children.

Luol was the cover athlete of the NBA Live 09 video game in the UK and Ireland.

Citizenship

Since his birth in Sudanmarker, Deng has lived in Egyptmarker, the United Kingdom, Russia, and the United States. Deng represented England at Under-16 and Under-19 level, and is an ambassador for the London 2012 Olympic Games. In October 2006, Deng became a naturalised British citizen in a ceremony in Croydonmarker and was called up to play in European competition for the Great Britain team. He made his debut against Georgia in Pau, France on 9 August 2007, scoring 19 points. In his first competitive qualifying game representing Great Britain Deng scored (32 Pts, 16 Rbs, 11 Asts, 8 Stls & 2 Blks) against Slovakia, at Birminghammarker's National Indoor Arenamarker on 21 August 2007.

Contract negotiations

On July 31 2008, Luol Deng officially agreed to a six-year deal worth a guaranteed US$71 million. With incentives he could get up to US$80 million.

Off the court

Deng is involved in numerous charities. He has been noted for his work on behalf of the Lost Boys of Sudan and other refugees. During the summers of 2006 and 2007, Luol went to Africa, Asia and Europe with the NBA for their Basketball Without Borders Tour. He is also a spokesperson for the World Food Programme. "He really does epitomize everything I had hoped for as a person and a basketball player," general manager John Paxson said. "I think it's one of the reasons we've gotten to the level we're at this year. I'm truly proud of him. I think the world of him as a person and as a player."

He counts himself a fan of Arsenal Football Club.

NBA career statistics

Regular season

2004–05
Chicago
61 45 27.3 .434 .265 .741 5.3 2.2 .8 .4 11.7
2005–06
Chicago
78 56 33.4 .463 .269 .750 6.6 1.9 .9 .6 14.3
2006–07
Chicago
82 82 37.5 .517 .143 .777 7.1 2.5 1.2 .6 18.8
2007–08
Chicago
63 59 33.8 .479 .364 .770 6.3 2.5 .9 .5 17.0
Career
284 242 33.3 .480 .272 .763 6.4 2.3 1.0 .5 15.6

Playoffs

2005–06
Chicago
6 0 30.0 .429 .200 .571 4.8 .5 .8 .7 10.2
2006–07
Chicago
10 10 41.0 .524 .000 .807 8.7 2.4 1.0 .7 22.2
Career
16 10 36.9 .500 .167 .744 7.3 1.7 .9 .7 17.7

Notes

  1. NBA.com : Luol Deng Bio Page
  2. BULLS: Triple Threat
  3. Triumph and despair | Sport | The Observer
  4. "LeBron leads East to victory", AP in Augusta Chronicle, March 27, 2003.
  5. "Luol Deng sidelined for McDonalds All-American game", Basketball 365, March 26, 2003.
  6. NBA.com Global Mailbox: Luol Deng
  7. BULLS: Deng’s Journey Continues in Chicago
  8. ACC Now - Deng wins humanitarian award | newsobserver.com blogs
  9. NBA Live goes global for cover stars - Xbox 360 News at GameSpot
  10. BBC SPORT | Other Sport... | Basketball | NBA star Deng ready for GB debut
  11. EuroBasket 2007
  12. ChicagoSports.com - Deng's patience pays off big time
  13. "Deng wants more focus on game in Britain", Reuters at upstatetoday.com, August 16, 2008.
  14. Donald McRae, "Luol Deng: Britain's secret superstar", The Guardian, September 14, 2009.


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