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Luol Deng & Coach Melbourne-Bound

By 04/07/2015News

The National Classic is a national tournament organised by the South Sudanese Australian National Basketball Association, and proudly supported by Helping Hoops. It features over 40 teams from all across Australia, and is an important sporting and cultural event for the South Sudanese Australian community.

The National Classic, which is on next weekend from July 10-12, will welcome special guests Luol Deng of the Miami Heat, and Joe Mantegna of Blair Academy as well as the CEO of the Luol Deng Foundation, Steve Vear. Deng, an NBA player of South Sudanese heritage, will host a free invitation only basketball clinic on Thursday, July 9 for specific National Classic players and other invited guests. Heading up the clinic will be Mantegna, who coached Deng previously in high school, and still works closely with Deng and his Foundation. Deng and Mantegna are eager to see the local talent on offer and help coaches by sharing resources, expertise and other relevant information.

Upon speaking with Deng he said: “I first attended the SSANBA Tournament in July 2013 and was amazed by the talent at the tournament as well as how the community all comes together in one place. I left knowing that I had to get more involved with the project where this year I am excited to bring my High School Coach, Joe Mantegna, with me to run a basketball clinic to help the kids and coaches grow and develop their skills.

“I really want to strengthen the community spirit and leadership whilst also helping to develop and refine the skills of the coaches and athletes here in Melbourne and beyond. I’m confident by adding the clinic to the event we can achieve this.”

South Sudanese Australian National Basketball Association Head of Basketball Operations and Tournament Organiser, Manyang Berberi says,

“We are very excited about Luol Deng and his high school coach coming all the way from the United States mainly to support the kids at these events. The clinic will be great for all the young players. It means a lot to them. It shows Luol Deng’s commitment to helping the younger players that are coming up.”

Deng joins a long list of notable names who have competed in, or contributed to, the tournament in previous years. These names include former NBA player Manute Bol, former Perth Wildcat Mathiang Muo, LA Lakers draft pick Ater Majok and current Louisville Cardinals college player Mangok Mathiang.

The 2015 National Classic, held in partnership with Helping Hoops, Frankston Basketball Association and Basketball Victoria, culminates in the finals on Sunday, July 12, which will also feature the highly anticipated slam-dunk contest. A $5 fee per day will gain entry to the tournament, and raise money to ensure the volunteer-run South Sudanese Australian National Basketball Association can continue to put on events like the National Classic in future years.


Friday, July 10 – July 12
Frankston Basketball Stadium
90 Bardia Ave, Seaford

9am – 6pm on Friday and Saturday, and 9-5pm on Sunday. Finals commence Sunday, July 12 from 12 noon.

$5 entry per day.

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