With the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, two British basketball stars, Luol Deng and Pops Mensah-Bonsu, set up a series of live discussions, hosted on Instagram Live which we are now reposting with permission on the Hoopsfix podcast feed.
In Episode 3, aired on April 6th 2020, they discussed their college experiences – Luol at Duke with Coach K and Pops Mensah-Bonsu at George Washington, with a lot of great stories about the recruitment and March Madness.
Hear from the duo on:
The rapid rise of Luol’s career from making the decision to take basketball seriously at 13, to consider jumping to the NBA straight out of High School 5 years later
How Luol was considering schools from his last 5 of Duke, Virginia, Indiana, Fairfield, and Missouri.
A workout Pops had with his brother, Kojo, after his Junior year where he saw all the holes in his game
Living in an era before the widespread proliferation of mobile phones
The impact Pops’ older brother Kojo had on guiding him through his career
The goals Pops set for himself and how he went about achieving them
When Pops first heard someone ask him if he’s coming back to school and realised the NBA is within reach
How the two had the same goals just very different paths to get there
The recruitment process and the amount of attention Luol was receiving
Luol being recruited by every school with private jets, except for Duke
How Luol and Charlie Villanueva were originally plotting to go to Indiana together and Luol only went to visit Duke because of his father
Pops last five schools were GW, La Salle, St Joes, Cleveland State and Boston College
How Luol ended up being the number 2 player in the country and all over Slam Magazine
Why Luol was determined to not just be a good junior player and having a one-track mind to make it
Pops having to balance getting a degree whilst preparing for a professional career
The advice Luol gave Pops when he was considering the NBA draft
Staying grounded whilst getting endless attention
Luol’s Final Four run in the NCAA Tournament in his Freshman year
How Luol was initially planning on returning to school for his Sophomore year, it getting back to the coaching staff, only to change his mind and have to tell them he was declaring for the NBA
A member of the GW coaching staff finding out Pops was close with Luol and trying to get him to persuade Lu to come to GW
The first time their parents saw them play basketball
Whether it’s harder to stay humble nowadays for young basketball prospects because of social media
The show has been approved on iTunes – find it here and please subscribe to automatically receive new episodes straight to your phone/computer/tablet – if you could give us a review/rating it would be much appreciated to help the podcast spread far and wide, meanwhile it is also on Spotify here, Overcast, Stitcher, and Google Podcasts.
Do you like our work?
We have a tiny favour to ask. In 2018 we set out to make Hoopsfix sustainable by building our relationship directly with our readers. Up until now, Hoopsfix has been creating editorials, videos and podcasts to provide sorely missing coverage of the British game and its distinct culture and community.
We have funded Hoopsfix with our freelance work creating basketball media, but sadly that means not only does it fall behind our client’s priorities, but some of those clients are the same organisations we need to report objectively on putting us in a conflicted position.
We want to devote more time to our mission of helping British basketball reach its potential, and produce even more content for the basketball community by making Hoopsfix a sustainable 100% independent business funded directly by our readers through Patreon.
If everyone who enjoys our content chose to support us, our future would be much more secure. For as little as $3 per month, you can support Hoopsfix – and it only takes a minute.
We are tremendously honoured and humbled to have a community of people who value what we do, and we look forward to being at the forefront of the British game as it continues to evolve.