With the world locked down during the coronavirus pandemic, two British basketball stars, Luol Deng and Pops Mensah-Bonsu, set up a series of live discussions, hosted on Instagram Live, and with permission from their team we are hosting them on the Hoopsfix Podcast.
In Episode 2, aired on April 3rd 2020, they discussed their transition from the UK to the US, going to their respective high schools and how they adapted.
Hear from Luol and Pops on:
How Pops attended The Hun School of Princeton in NJ, originally not to play basketball
Why Luol made the jump to the US at 14 years old to attend Blair Academy
The mental preparation and mental mind-switch that occurred heading to the US
The crushing blow Pops suffered to find out he was on the Junior Varsity team
Adjusting from state school in London to some of the most prestigious and wealthiest high schools in the US
Luol had never used a laptop or computer before getting to the States
How Luol ended up forgetting his basketball shoes when moving to the US
Luol’s mindset in trying to prove himself and being on a mission to make it
Turning negatives into positives
How Deng tore up his first practice at Blair and was told by Coach Joe Mantegna he had a chance of making the NBA
The story of what happened when Pops and Luol met in the High Jump while competing in track & field
How Pops had more interest and offers to compete in High Jump at college than basketball
Why Pops ended up following the basketball route
The impact on Luol of having a coach who cared about him so much
Luol getting the keys to the gym at Blair for 6am workouts
Charlie Villanueva joining Luol at Blair Academy, and then their team starting to get a lot of national recognition
The talk of Luol and Charlie skipping college to go straight to the NBA
How Pops used Luol’s success as motivation to work on his own game
What motivated both of them to pursue basketball, and trying to change their lives
How social media has impacted high school basketball now
The number of kids coming over to the US and getting in the wrong situation
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