Gatkuoth joins South Sudan squad for FIBA Africa tournament
Anchorage basketball star Mareng Gatkuoth will help South Sudan usher in a new era at the FIBA Africa Championships.
Ten years after the country gained its independence, the South Sudanese have punched their ticket to FIBA Africa for the first time and Gatkuoth will be part of the history in Rwanda.
The 21-year-old sophomore at Montana State University was selected to a 12-man squad, one of only four college players on his team that will compete starting tournament starting tomorrow in Rwanda’s capital city of Kigali.
The 16-team tournament features four groups. South Sudan is in Group D along with Senegal, Cameroon and Uganda.
Gatkuoth has prior experience representing South Sudan on its elite team and previously participated in the DENG camp hosted by former NBA player Luol Deng.
The former Anchorage Christian High star signed with Montana State in the spring after spending the previous two seasons at the NJCAA Division I level.
He built his chops at JC, playing for nationally ranked teams that combined for a 42-12 record.
At New Mexico Junior College, Gatkuoth started 19 of 30 games and averaged 5.8 points, 2.6 rebounds and 2.2 assists in 20.5 minutes per game.
At South Plains College, he averaged 5.1 points, 2.6 rebounds and 2.1 assists coming off the bench for a team that was ranked No. 1 in the country at one point and advanced to the quarterfinals of the NJCAA Championships.
Gatkuoth is a 6-foot-5 point guard who has career highs of 19 points and 10 assists.
South Sudan is ranked 14th in Africa and 94th in the world by FIBA.
The team is coached by Brooklyn Nets assistant Royal Ivey and will make its first appearance at world stage competition.
Gatkuoth is the second youngest player on the squad that is comprised mostly of pro players ages 24 to 34.
The South Sudanese square off against Cameroon (Wednesday), Senegal (Friday) and Uganda (Sunday) before the single-elimination rounds start on Aug. 31.
The championship game is Sept. 5.