Hungry Jack's NBL
Lat Mayen Signs in Cairns
The CQUniversity Cairns Taipans have put pen to paper with exciting 6’9” Marlins forward Lat Mayen, signing the 23-year-old to his first professional contract (two years - second year club option) after an impressive NBL1 debut.
Born in South Sudan, Mayen grew up in Adelaide where he played club basketball for the Sturt Sabres and helped them to a 50-3 record in his final season. He went on to represent South Australia in the U20 National Championships in 2016, averaging 11.5 points (44% FG) and 7.1 rebounds.
Mayen joined the Centre of Excellence that year, playing alongside Jack White (United) Will Magnay (JackJumpers) and Angus Clover (Kings) and Sam Froling (Hawks) shooting 39.5 per cent from three. He finished as one of Australia’s top recruits in the 2017 class and was ranked the No. 2 player by AUSA Hoops.
Like all of the latest Taipans signings, Head Coach Adam Forde followed Mayen throughout his collegiate career and previously scouted the versatile forward at his former club.
“We first met a few years back when Lat was at a crossroads as whether to transfer colleges or go pro. Adam Caporn brought him over [to Sydney] for a workout and I distinctively remember everyone in the gym agreeing he could go pro right then and there. So, I’m excited that three years later I’ve got him on my team,” said Forde.
“Lat is a 3-and-D guy that can really stretch the floor. His length and athleticism allows him to defend multiple positions and give us more options. In the Big Ten conference, Lat played a lot at the power forward, which we will look to do similarly here, but also have the flexibility to run him as a wing."
Mayen redshirted his first year at Texas Christian University during the 2017-18 season, and his second year was cut short after 17 games due to a knee injury. He spent the 2019-20 season at Chipola College in Florida, where he averaged 11.8 points, 8.4 rebounds and 2.7 assists per game and helped the school to an 18-10 record.
Mayen spent the next two years at the University of Nebraska, where he started in 31 games as a junior, averaging 5.9 points and 3.8 rebounds. As a senior, he was just one of two players to start all 27 games in the 2020-21 COVID-impacted season and improved to 8.6 points and 4.5 rebounds. He finished fourth on the team in scoring and third in rebounding.
Forde said after spending extensive time in the States, he was impressed with how quickly Mayen seized the opportunity presented to him in Far North Queensland.
“Lat is an extremely hard worker. I never expected him to skip his graduation and family time during the off-season to come directly to Cairns, but he’s been here putting in the work.
“Since he has arrived, he has been on a steady diet of the gym twice a day with weights in between. He’s hungry for success but doesn’t boast about it, he just gets after it."
Mayen joined the Cairns Marlins in May and has since dominated in his first NBL1 campaign, averaging 19.8 points, 7.0 rebounds and flirting with a 50/40/90 stat line (currently achieving 52/53/85) in his six games so far.
"Having Lat playing for the Marlins has been a really valuable resource. I don’t know of a similar comparison in the NBL where you have an NBL1 team operating in the same building with the same coaching staff leading the charge,” said Forde.
“It allows us to trial potential players, work and assess them in-person daily with a direct transference to the Taipans.
“In Lat’s case his three-point percentage took a dip in his senior year in college, but in the NBL1 he is currently shooting at 53 per cent. So, any doubts of his ability or confidence has been put to rest and we know exactly what the Taipans will be getting.”
Mayen joins Tahjere McCall, Jonah Antonio, Sam Waardenburg, Bul Kuol, Keanu Pinder, Mirko Djeric and Majok Deng on the 2022-23 roster.