ALEXANDRIA (Egypt) – John Deng Geu’s life has been a rollercoaster, and he couldn’t be any happier to be representing Uganda at international level.
Born in a refugee camp in Uganda to a South Sudanese family, who relocated to North Dakota when Geu was six, the 23-year-old deservedly appears among one of the rising stars in the ongoing FIBA AfroBasket 2021 Qualifiers.
A 2.06m (6f 9in) forward capable of running the floor like a guard, Geu is a talent like no other.
From his ability to shoot the ball from beyond the arc to playing terrific defense, Geu is using his game to take Uganda’s basketball to the next level.
The Ugandans opened their Qualifiers campaign with a 96-77 defeat to Group E hosts Egypt on Friday, but as Geu says, nothing is lost yet.
“I thought we played really well at the start. It was a tough loss, but we can compare right with other teams in Africa,” he said to FIBA.basketball.
The former University of North Texas standout made his debut with the Silverbacks during the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 African Qualifiers, averaging 13.3 points and 11.3 rebounds per game.
In Friday’s defeat to Egypt, Geu finished with 9 points and a game-high 12 rebounds.
He remains optimistic about his national team’s future though. “You can see as we are getting better every year. As we play more together, we learn how to keep playing with each other, we can be one of the better teams in Africa.
“You can see how we are growing each year and we are gonna keep getting better,” said the man who started his professional career last season with Danish powerhouse Horsens IC Basketball.
“It’s been great so far,” he said of his rookie professional season.
“I feel like I was already kind of adjusted because of my experience with Uganda basketball.”
His time with Uganda national team is one of the best experiences of his basketball career, Geu insisted.
“It’s great to be in this position. Anytime I got to come out and represent Uganda, it’s definitely a fun moment. It means a lot to me.”
He added that playing for Uganda has been an added value to his career: “I want to play at the highest level, try the best I can become. Hopefully, one day I can make it to the NBA.”