Hungry Jack's NBL
Deng Deng Heads Back To Illawarra
The Illawarra Hawks' NBL23 roster continues to take shape after revealing the re-signing of former forward Deng Deng to a one-year deal on Wednesday.
Sudanese-born Deng will return to the Hawks, a club he played 39 games for in NBL21, after spending last season with the Brisbane Bullets.
Illawarra coach Jacob Jackomas is excited to add another versatile piece to his squad for the upcoming campaign.
"In our eyes, Deng Deng was one of our main targets for the off-season, as we viewed him as the best versatile power forward available - so we're stoked to get the deal done," Jackomas said.
"Two of the main reasons we wanted him were his recent improvement as a player, especially as a shooter, and defensive character.
"Deng made huge strides as a player during his previous stint here, which he continued up in Brisbane and we're confident in a bigger role with us, he can help us win games and a championship.
"Then on defence, he already knows our system and plays hard on that end of the floor, just like everyone else on our squad - not to mention he's a great teammate and willing to do whatever it takes to win."
30-year-old Deng, who attended Baylor College before spending time in the G-League with the Texas Legends, is the seventh player on Jackomas' roster for NBL23, alongside Tyler Harvey, Sam Froling, Daniel Grida, Akoldah Gak, Alex Mudronja and newly signed Wani Swaka Lo Buluk.
Forward Grida, who played alongside Deng during the previous stint at the Wollongong-based club, is excited to have the Box Hill Senior Secondary College alum back at the Hawks.
"Deng Deng was an integral part of our finals run two years ago, thanks to his athleticism and ability to play at both ends - so it's really exciting to have him back," Grida said.
"He a super versatile player, can play multiple positions, get on the rim and make outside shots - not to mention he can guard multiple positions and fits our profile.
"I can't speak highly enough about the person he is too, which will see him fit seamlessly back into the squad - we all clicked really well back then and I’m sure it will carry over into NBL23.
"With that all being considered, I'm confident Deng Deng's return will give us a competitive edge and help our quest for a championship next season."
Before he returns to Wollongong in August for pre-season, Deng will play for the Kilsyth Cobras in the NBL1 South competition.