27 Jul
    10 Aug 2024

    50 names, huge potential for South Sudan Olympic team

    JUBA (South Sudan) - The possibilities South Sudan have of assembling a formidable roster for the country's first Olympic campaign this summer are jaw-dropping.

    JUBA (South Sudan) - The possibilities South Sudan have of assembling a formidable  roster for the country's first Olympic campaign this summer are jaw-dropping.

    The country's basketball federation announced the 50 players that could suit up for the Bright Stars in France, where they will take on USA, Serbia, and the side that wins the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament in San Juan, where Lithuania, Italy, and Puerto Rico are arguably the strongest contenders.


    Bol Bol, the center of the Phoenix Suns and son and legendary big man Manute Bol, and up-and-coming star pivot Khaman Maluach are but two of the names that jump off the country's announcement of the list of players.

    Bol Bol, a towering 2.21M (7'3") in height, has yet to play for the national team but Maluach, 2.16M (7'1"), did feature last year at the FIBA Basketball World Cup as a 17-year-old - the youngest player in the competition.

    Maluach could be one of the top picks in the 2025 NBA Draft. The MVP of the NBA's Basketball Without Borders Africa camp in 2023, Maluach has committed to play next season at Duke University, which is where South Sudan’s current basketball federation president Luol Deng played two decades ago before moving on to the NBA.

    Jon Scheyer, the Duke coach, expects Maluach to be in his country's Olympic team.

    "We are anxious to get to work with Khaman after he competes in the Olympics this summer with Luol Deng and the South Sudanese National Team," he said in a statement issued by Duke.

    Wenyan Gabriel averaged 9.2 points and 6.8 rebounds for South Sudan at the World Cup

    Carlik Jones, Nuni Omot and Wenyan Gabriel led the country in efficiency at the World Cup and are among those named, as are the other nine members of the roster from Manila.

    South Sudan have enjoyed a stunning rise in international basketball. The country only gained independence on July 9, 2011. It played at the FIBA AfroBasket for the first time in 2021 and finished seventh. Next, they qualified for the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023 and played in Manila, where they were 17th out of 32 teams.

    That placing was the highest of the African teams that took part and clinched a spot in the Men's Olympic Basketball Tournament Paris 2024.

    FIBA

    Latest news

    Star guards Mills and Giddey combined for 44 points as Australia beat France

    Brooks scores 21 and Canada shift gears on defense to overcome Puerto Rico

    Top 20 absolute must-watch players at the Olympics: Volume 2