Duke basketball confirms star signee will play in Paris Olympics for program legend

A future Blue Devil will play for a Blue Devil icon in the 2024 Olympic Games
Duke basketball center Khaman Maluach (L) of South Sudan and June Mar Fajardo...
Duke basketball center Khaman Maluach (L) of South Sudan and June Mar Fajardo... / SOPA Images/GettyImages

It has been rumored for a while but a Duke basketball incoming freshman will play in the 2024 Paris Olympics for his country, the program confirmed on Wednesday.

Khaman Maluach, a 5-star freshman who announced his commitment to the Blue Devils in early March, will play for the South Sudan men's national team this summer, led by Duke legend Luol Deng.

We are anxious to get to work with Khaman after he competes in the Olympics this summer with Luol Deng and the South Sudanese National Team," Duke head coach Jon Scheyer said in a statement on Wednesday as the Blue Devils announced the official signing of Maluach.

Deng, also a South Sudan native, has been a mentor to Maluach since he decided to play basketball at a late stage in his young life, which aided in leading him to Durham for what will likely be his only season of college basketball.

The former Duke one-and-done, has been the president of the South Sudan Basketball Federation since 2019 and is currently an assistant coach for the team after previously serving as the head coach.

Khaman Maluach was named to the South Sudan roster last summer, participating in the 2023 FIBA World Cup and immediately became the youngest player on the roster at 16-years old. The team was ranked as the best African team in the tournament, and qualified for the Olympics.

As a member of the NBA Academy Africa, he is currently playing in the Basketball Africa League (BAL). Maluach recently competed for Team World in the Nike Hoop Summit, struggling in his limited minutes on the court.

He is expected to be the starting center for the Blue Devils next season, paring with top ranked recruit Cooper Flagg in the Duke frontcourt. Both players are currently projected as Top-3 picks in the 2025 NBA Draft.