What role do you hope to play for the team next year?
I want to be one of the best defenders, guard the best players. I want to knock down the open shots. I’ll work my butt off to get stronger, faster. I want to come in and help any way I can, whether it’s pushing guys in practice, playing big minutes, any way my team needs me to play.
What do you think about Coach Allen?
When he was hired [as an assistant coach], he called me right away. He also called when he took over [as head coach]. They’re a great staff. Not only just basketball, but also as people. Sometimes I spend time just talking to them about life.
Coach Allen is a really cool guy, he’s helping in the community, in the Philly area. Basketball-wise, he’s been there. If your team won 48 conference games in a row, you have to know how to play. That covers the X’s and O’s. Being around those people will help me become a better person.
I think we’ll surprise people the next couple of years. We have a bunch of guys working their butts off over there. And the guys I’ve met coming in, we’re hungry to help.
What’s going on with your brother? I’ve noticed that he hasn’t been in your team’s box scores lately. [Editor’s Note: Dau’s younger brother, Peter Jok, is an elite prospect for the Class of 2013]
He broke his hand during Christmas break in practice. The other night was the first night he was back. We’re happy to have him back. Without him, teams just focus on me. With him on the court, teams focus on him a lot. He had a broken right hand.
When you’re not on the court or in class, how do you spend your free time?
I do a lot of learning on my own, whether it’s watching television or reading books. I hang out around great people that will influence me. The person that I credit the most is Bruce Koeppl [Editor’s Note: Bruce Koeppl is a very well-respected leader in the Des Moines basketball community who mentors a number of high school players]. He’s behind the scenes. Without him, I wouldn’t be who I am. He mentors kids around here, he’s a big part of our program.
What are some things that not many people know about Dau Jok?
My life story, not a lot of people know where I’ve been. My dad was a General in the war [in Sudan]. He was killed when I was about 5 or 6 or so. Life was really rough. He not only took care of our extended family, but our whole tribe. We moved to different areas before we moved to Uganda. My mom was taking care of us. I had to grow up quick, I had to be a head of household. Then, my grandma was able to find sponsorship. Live was tough in Africa, living in a war zone.
I didn’t know I was going to play college basketball until 12 months ago. The last 15 months have been incredible for me. I went to a Bill Fleming camp. He has a camp in Des Moines that is 3 days long, from 7AM to 10PM every day, no scrimmaging, no 1-on-1’s. There are classrooms where you learn discipline.
I’m thankful to a lot of people. I hope that through my hard work, when I accomplish something, they’re proud of that.