Mangok Mathiang (pronounced MANG-go MATH-ee-ang; born October 8, 1992 in Juba, Sudan) is a South Sudanese-Australian professional basketball player for the Charlotte Hornets of the National Basketball Association (NBA), on a two-way contract with the Hornets' NBA G League affiliate, the Greensboro Swarm. He played college basketball for the University of Louisville, being with them during their 2012-13 champion season despite not playing a single minute with the team due to NCAA regulations.

 

 

Early life and high school career

Mathiang was born in Juba under what is now South Sudan. At the age of five, he, his mother and five siblings fled the war-torn Sudan and moved to Egypt to set up a move to Australia. His father, Alfret, decided to stay behind in Sudan.[3] Mathiang and the rest of his family arrived in Sydney with extended family members when he was seven years old before moving to Melbourne a year later. Until he was sixteen years old, Mathiang played football with Australian rules as his main sport for Emmanuel College in Altona North. However, due to him being 1.98m tall, he was encouraged to start playing basketball instead, moving to the United States of America with his friend, Ran Tut, to achieve that goal.

During his junior year of high school, he played basketball for Brehm Preparatory School in Carbondale, Illinois. After that, Mathiang moved out to Bradenton, Florida to play his senior season at the IMG Academy. In his senior season, he averaged 14 points, 10 rebounds, and 4 blocks per game as he helped the IMG Academy get themselves a 28-2 record and become one of 11 players from the team that year to earn scholarships to NCAA teams. While Mathiang also received offers from Kansas State University, University of Georgia, Mississippi State University, Auburn University, and Central Michigan University, he ultimately chose to go to the University of Louisville for the people there.

College career

He originally was with the Louisville Cardinals during the 2012-13 season, but due to NCAA regulations relating to international players like Mathaing, he was forced to sit out his first season with the team. Despite that, he still traveled and trained with the team throughout the season, all the way into the 2013 NCAA Championship Game, where the Cardinals would win their 3rd NCAA Tournament. Throughout his NCAA career, Mathiang mostly played as a bench reserve, with him usually alternating spots as a starter at times for Louisville. During his junior season, he would be limited to playing in only 10 games total for them due to an injury that would sideline him for the majority of that season.[4] As a result of when the injury came about, he would not be deemed eligible for another redshirt season that year. His best season would be in his senior year with Louisville, where he would average 7.8 points and 6.0 rebounds in 20.8 minutes of action per game in 33 games played.

Professional career

After going undrafted in the 2017 NBA Draft, Mathiang played for the Charlotte Hornets during the 2017 NBA Summer League. In the five games played for the Hornets during the Orlando Summer League, he averaged 4.4 points and 5.0 rebounds in 17.2 minutes per game for the team off the bench. On August 2, 2017, Mathiang signed a two-way contract with the Charlotte Hornets, the same team he played with during the Summer League.[5] Under the terms of the deal, he and fellow two-way affiliate Marcus Paige will split time with the Hornets and their G-League affiliate, the Greensboro Swarm. Mathiang made his professional, NBA debut on October 25, 2017 against the Denver Nuggets. In three minutes of play, he would record two rebounds in Charlotte's 110–93 win over the Nuggets.

Personal life

Mathiang is the middle child of his family, which includes four sisters and one brother. His mother, Grace, helped her children survive their journeys through Egypt and Australia during the Second Sudanese Civil War. His father, Alfret, stayed behind in Sudan during the event, and Mangok hopes to see him again.