Original article from the Geelong Advertsiter can be found HERE
Feature photo: Jacqui Neill
WITH NBL1 games again postponed this weekend due to the ongoing Victorian lockdown,
Supercats recruit Mawut Deng is finding time to stay in shape in between shifts for the
Department of Health.
Working for the Victorian Government, his day job includes fielding calls for Covid-19
“The last week has been hectic,” Deng said.
“Sometimes you get people that are really nice that call you, then you get people that are waiting on the line for an hour or two that are grumpy,” he laughed.
Living in Footscray, Deng won’t get to enjoy the more relaxed regional Victorian restrictions coming in to play this week.
Instead, he will continue to train individually and stay connected to the team through WhatsApp.
“There is a park next to my house that I go to,” Deng said.
“I’m doing a lot of body weights and shooting. I try to get out there at least three times a week, depending on work and weather.”
Deng joined the Supercats squad in 2019, after being invited to train with the team by headcoach Justin Schueller.
“I used to live in South Melbourne, next to MSAC,” Deng said.
“I went there every morning. Justin would sit down and watch me, him and Dean (Vickerman).
“Then one day he asked my name, told me he was the coach at Geelong and wanted me to come along to one of their trainings.
“I’ve actually known Justin for a long time — he coached me in high school, in Adelaide, when I was in year 8 or 9.
“I don’t think he remembered me – I was a skinny little kid back then.”
Coming to Australia from South Sudan as a child, Deng joined the Adelaide 36ers as a
development player in 2015 under Joey Wright and credits this time as a great learning
experience for his game.
“I learned a lot from the guys — Mitch Creek was over there, (Nathan) Sobey, Jerome Randle — that took my game to another level, mentally.
“I used to think it was all about shooting the ball and dribbling, but there’s a lot more to it.”
Now calling Victoria home, Deng is enjoying his time with the Supercats.
“I like this system — we have a good group of guys, a lot of talent in the team,” Deng said.
“My role is just to come in and give the team whatever they need at the time.
“If that’s defending somebody, shooting the ball, rebounding — I’m just there to do what I need to do for the team.”
Although the Victorian Covid restrictions are tough, what’s harder for Deng is not seeing his nine-year-old daughter due to international travel restrictions.
“She’s currently in Africa,” Deng said.
“She went back home to learn the language. It’s 100 per cent been tough. We communicate on the phone every day.”