July 19, 2009

Majok will play basketball for UConn

STORRS, Conn. - What was first supposed to happen last October,
and then potentially in December, and possibly never at all, finally will
this fall: Ater Majok will play for UConn.

Majok, a 6-foot-10 power forward from Sudan via Egypt, Australia and Virginia, told the Hartford Courant on Sunday that he will bypass the chance to play professionally in Europe to continue his studies at UConn this fall.

"Education comes first, so I'm going to get my education," Majok told The Courant in Hartford, where he joined several current Huskies playing in the Greater Hartford Summer Pro-Am League. "The decision is for me to get my law degree. It was tough, all the pressure and stuff. Now, it's not about that. It's time for me to get to work on school and the team."

A five-star prospect who was ranked the No. 3 power forward in the Class of 2008 and the 13th-best prospect overall, Majok had told The Courant as recently as Saturday that he had been instructed not to speak to reporters, presumably by the UConn coaching staff.

But the decision as to whether to attend UConn or play professionally lingered since the spring, when Majok entered the NBA draft and later withdrew his name from the eligibility pool before the deadline.

Uncertainty regarding Majok's involvement in an ongoing NCAA investigation, one in which he has reportedly been linked to a former UConn student manager-turned-agent, clouded the announcement that Majok would enter the NBA draft. His flirtation with turning professional, whether it be in North America or Europe, has been said to be due to his family's financial situation.

Though Majok will not be eligible to compete until after the conclusion of the fall semester in December, he will be able to practice with the Huskies until then. He'll round out a five-man incoming freshman class that includes guards Darius Smith, Jamaal Trice and Jamal Coombs-McDaniel and power forward Alex Oriakhi.

Majok is highly regarded for his size, athleticism and his balance. Despite being 6-foot-10, Majok has a well-rounded game, including a crisp mid-range jumper that he used in scoring 30 points and grabbing 12 rebounds in a Pro-Am game on Sunday.


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