Wednesday, March 30, 2011
Ater Majok: Journey to the NBA
By: Kevin Duffy
Ater Majok has traveled a long way since he was born in Sudan in 1988.
The New York times featured an article on him and his journey before he played at the University of Connecticut. "Refugees from the war in Sudan, Majok’s family moved to Egypt when he was a child.The scar on his left ear came from a Muslim gang member’s knife when he attacked Majok, a Catholic, after his family was moved to Egypt. The wound on his right thigh came similarly. To communicate, he had to learn four Arabic dialects. Majok never forgot his father’s command, 'Don’t back down.' "
At practice, the Times reported: Majok nearly got in a fight with UConn's most intimidating player, Jeff Adrian. Majok said: ''They call you the Horse, but I'm the psycho maniac. I don't run.''
On top of his difficulty to get to Uconn, his complicated academic journey led to an NCAA ruling that he was a partial qualifier. He could practice with UConn, but couldn't play in games until he finished exams. He then explored early entry into the NBA draft, but decided to stick it out at UConn.
Now two drafts later, Majok is in the draft for good. Having left UConn before his sophomore season the 23 year old went to play professional overseas. "It was good I learned how to be a pro and I improved my skills a lot and it was fun." Majok ,who compares himself to Kevin Garnett, is looking to impress teams with his energy, shot blocking and shooting. He is "just trying to get drafted and get on to an NBA team." It is a journey that could well see Majok end up in the biggest basketball show on earth, the NBA. Remember, he won't back down.