Editor’s Note: Dau Jok, a 6’3” shooting guard in Penn’s 2010 recruiting class, is from Des Moines, Iowa. However, that’s just the beginning of the story for the very bright, talented young man who was born in war-torn Sudan. Part 1 of Basketball-U’s interview with Dau Jok is below.
How long have you been in the United States?
We came here to Des Moines on December 9, 2003. 6 years and a month.
How did you end up in Iowa?
My grandma came here about 10 years ago. She came here around 1998. She was able to get a church here in Des Moines to sponsor us—you need a sponsor to immigrate. We went straight to Des Moines.
You were being recruited by a number of schools. Why did you choose Penn?
I just developed a great relationship with Coach Miller, Coach Martin and Coach Gallagher. Obviously, the education is a big part of it. My family came here [to the United States] for education. If I can go to an Ivy League school and get an education, that will help me and my family.
Compared to the other schools, Penn just had a great combination of athletics and academics. Who wouldn’t want to play UNC on national television?
Who on the Penn staff was your primary recruiter?
On the first day Coach Allen was hired [as an assistant coach], he called me. But the primary people were Coach Gallagher and Coach Miller. There was always an open line of communication, I called them whenever I had questions. I’ve tried to learn as much as I can about the players, the school and the community.
Who of the other incoming recruits are you in touch with?
On the same weekend I visited, I visited with Casey James and Kevin Panzer. I’m friends with them and I talk to them, I have their numbers. I’ve been talking quite a bit to Miles [Cartwright], I text him and call him. He has a pretty good team. I’ve been keeping in touch with some of the current players. Darren [Smith] was my host.
What would you say that your strengths and weaknesses are as a basketball player?
My weaknesses are all aspects of my game, that’s the way I look at it. I have to get better rebounding, playing defense, becoming a better overall player. I don’t think my game is where it should be or where it needs to be. I just want to go out there and work my butt off, learn from the guys who have been there. I just want to become the best basketball player I can be.
At the same time, I think I have a lot to offer. On defense, I’m pretty active. Down here [in Iowa], I’m getting a chance to guard some of the best players in the state and the nation. Also, leadership-I think I’m pretty solid when it comes to leadership. Also toughness, I don’t think I quit, I have resilience. I’m not the most athletic or quickest, but my other attributes make up for it.