Playing in his first game in Cameron Indoor Stadium Saturday night in front of a crowd of only a couple thousand spectators, Blair Academy (N.J.) standout and future Blue Devil Luol Deng brought down the house, dropping 30 points, grabbing 11 boards and taking home player of the game honors as he helped lead Blair over Millbrook (Raleigh) 77-60.
"I thought it went well," Deng said. "I liked it a lot. I thought we played well in the second half, got the team together and didn't allow them to get back into the game.... So for my first game in Cameron I think it went pretty well."
Blair, ranked No. 1 in the country by Prepstars.com's top-20 poll, boasts the 6-foot-8 wing forward Deng, Illinois-bound center Charlie Villanueva, and a plethora of other seniors, and had little problem dispatching an undersized, inexperienced and less talented Millbrook squad.
After jumping out to a 21-11 first quarter lead, the Bucs watched Millbrook use a wild full court press that flustered Blair and shrunk the gap to 21-21 with less than three minutes expired in the second.
"We've seen a lot of junk, but that was some of the best junk we've seen," Blair Academy head coach Joe Mantegna said. "When we got stood up on offense by the junk defense we stopped guarding. I can understand it taking some time to get used to, but that's just inexcusable."
However, Deng took control, stripping the Wildcats of the ball at one end before transitioning for a fast break dunk at the other. He then began creating on ensuing possessions, dishing to Villanueva inside or penetrating and drawing the foul.
By halftime Blair had a 38-30 lead, and after Deng displayed his acrobatics and long range shoot ability in the second half, the London resident took the bench to a standing ovation.
After the game Deng said he was happy to get to play a game in Cameron and was amazed with the support he already received from the student body. He added that he had walked through Krzyzewskiville earlier in the day and was equally impressed with the tenters.
The consensus No. 2 prospect--sitting only behind Sports Illustrated cover boy LeBron James-Deng will probably be the highest touted freshman next season as James is expected to bolt for the NBA.
"[Deng] does everything either good or great right now," Mantegna said. "He's definitely a wing player at Duke according to their staff.... But their recruiting him to play Dahntay [Jones'] spot, from what I understand, and he has everything--the versatility--to play there."
Get Overtime, all Duke athletics
Signup for our editorially curated, weekly newsletter. Cancel at any time.