Teny witnesses african ascent
Melbourne’s Teny Puot had a box seat watching the long awaited rise of South Sudanese National basketball in the recent round of 2023 World Cup Qualifiers.
Selected to don his familiar no. 0 jersey in pursuit of a 2023 World Cup berth, Puot sadly injured his elbow in the lead up. But he had a front row seat as he watched South Sudan win all three of their pool games, including a huge win over 2022 Afrobasket Champions, Tunisia.
Atop the pool, the Bright Stars are now well placed to have a serious attempt at competing at the nation’s first Basketball World Cup. For close observers of South Sudanese basketball in Australia, this rise is no surprise.
Red Roo Sports Head, James Kerr, is certain this is only the beginning. “Some of the young men we’ve had through Red Roo the past 7 years have been among the purest athletes I have ever seen. Add in discipline, work, and good coaching, and it is no wonder they are on the rise.”
AAU CEO, Brett Stringer, sees the example of Puot, his work ethic, and dedication as vital examples to the rising generation. “Teny, and the other Aussie men in the National team, are being watched closely by the basketball loving youth in Melbourne and elsewhere. They’re watching the work ethic, and every little bit of effort that goes into this endeavour. They are seeing the payoff that effort at this level can result in, and I believe they will, with support from all of those around them, transfer this learning into their own lives.”
No one saw Teny more up close and personal than Supun Samarawickrama, Director of Hoops247 in Dandenong South. “I have the utmost respect for Teny and his basketball achievements. But it is the man he is that impresses me the most. The guy can work. He is so disciplined with his diet, and all elements of his preparation. I saw him so often down at Hoops putting up literally thousands of shots daily and working out relentlessly in our weight room. He’s a machine and it was a real privilege to host him.”
With the next round of pool games only a few months away, there’s more work in front of Teny, both to recover from his injury and keep his game where it needs to be. “I have no doubt”, says Jame Kerr, “that he can continue his rise, and that we will see an amazing result that puts the world on notice in regards to South Sudanese basketball.”