Bul Kuol laps up whirlwind NBA opportunity en route to South Sudan
Bul Kuol, the NBL22 Rookie of the Year, had a remarkable season with the Cairns Taipans, breaking Shane Heal’s previous record for most 3-pointers made by an Australian rookie in a single season.
Kuol capped up the individual performance by signing an extension with NBL23, committing to the Snakes’ youthful core for another season.
Kuol hoped to spend time with his family when his rookie season ended before playing South Sudan in the FIBA World Cup qualification window next month. What he didn’t intend on was a trip to Chicago and Cleveland for workouts with NBA teams over the course of a few days.
“This has all come out of nowhere.” My agency is offering me fresh information, like as the Chicago Bulls’ interest in bringing me in, but none of it is definite,” Kuol revealed in an ESPN story obtained by NCMP.
“I got out four days ago that they wanted to invite me in for a workout. I wasn’t sure whether I wanted to do it since it was so unexpected. I decided to go for it, booked the tickets the same day, and flew to Chicago.”
The effects of jet lag Kuol worked tested with the Bulls before working out with the Cleveland Cavaliers, fueling speculation that a Summer League invite may complete a spectacular climb over the previous six months.
Kuol says of a Summer League roster berth, “there hasn’t really been anything solid yet.”
“This has all come out of nowhere.” I left out on Thursday and arrived the next day; it was a lengthy travel and procedure, but they took fantastic care of me once I arrived. It was an early exercise with some testing. They just want to meet you in person, to see how you compete, interact, and listen. It’s more of a personality issue.
“It wasn’t anything I was planned; my aim was to go home and spend time with my family.” I didn’t really have an aim to make it to Summer League or the U.S. It was only a matter of getting ready for the upcoming NBL season and representing South Sudan in FIBA World Cup qualifications. When I suddenly decided to do this, I figured, “Why not take a chance?”
Given the frantic pace of the previous few days, Kuol had hardly had a time to process the magnitude of the opportunity in front of him, especially given that just six months ago he wasn’t even guaranteed rotation minutes with the Taipans.
“How effectively the basketball community is linked and connected has been eye-opening in many ways.” One thing that has been clear to me during this process is that if you are a good player, you will receive your opportunity and chances. If you take advantage, you receive more, and the cycle continues.
“I didn’t see a lot of this coming, but it’s opened my eyes to what’s possible.” It’s not impossible to be a good NBL player, or to make the NBA; it’s just made things a lot more concrete.
“Nobody really knew me, I knew I could play, I know I’m 6’6″, I can play defense, I’m athletic, so for me it’s just keeping healthy and taking whatever chance comes my way.”
It was my first NBA experience, working with an NBA ball and being among NBA executives, yet there was no pressure. I came here with the intention of just enjoying the experience and meeting as many people as possible.”
With the NBA Draft only days away, Kuol has been scrimmaging with players anticipated to be picked in the first round on Friday, with coaches and scouts keeping a close eye on his every move.
“We’ve just had Chicago and Cleveland.” If I make Summer League, I’ll most likely be with one of them, but we’ll see.”
“It’s very great, and I think one of the things that stands out is that everyone is there.” You have the head coach strolling about, monitoring, and the staff. You run into folks who have been there for 25 years, and you’re like, ‘wow.’
“That is what makes things more real. I expected it to be an elite event with just a few of the employees, but you’ve got everyone there.
You’ve arrived in the NBA and are training in front of NBA coaches and executives. I expected it to be low-key, but having casual interactions with these coaches and staff people was such a real experience.”
While the Summer League invitation is still up in the air, Kuol’s world tour will continue. South Sudan will begin their FIBA World Cup qualifying campaign on July 1 with games against Rwanda, Tunisia, and Cameroon on three consecutive days.
“I believe I took full use of the workouts; I think they got to know me, saw my character, saw how I played, the level of intensity and leadership qualities, so if teams want to take a risk and bring me in, it’s a possibility, but I’m not really thinking about it.” I got all I wanted out of it, and it would be a bonus if they brought me in.
“Right now, my attention is on travelling to South Sudan, getting there, taking full advantage of it, meeting everyone there, and just enjoying the experience.” I’m not sure what will come of this, but I’m having a great time.
“I haven’t gone back to Africa in maybe 15 years, so it’s a tremendous chance to be back and do it while playing basketball, representing your nation and doing it with your brothers from all over the globe, I’m thrilled about that.”
You want to win games and make the team, but I’m simply hoping to be picked and then compete. “I’m more enthusiastic about going home and having the experience.”