Penn men’s basketball player Dau Jok has made a habit of picking up accolades for his volunteer and humanitarian work over the past three-plus years.
So when the senior receives national recognition for his efforts off the basketball court, it should come as no surprise.
On Thursday, the U.S. Basketball Writers Association honored Jok with its Most Courageous Award. Jok is one of three individuals to receive the accolade this year along with Dan Peters, Akron’s director of operations, and Kirsten Moore, the coach of Westmont College’s women’s team.
Jok will be presented with his award at the USBWA honors breakfast when the Final Four takes place in Dallas in April.
Though he is involved with myriad off-the-court philanthropic initiatives, the USBWA cited a foundation established by Jok when he first arrived to Penn as the primary reason for honoring him.
Born in South Sudan, Jok’s father was a Sudanese army general. After his father was murdered when Jok was six, Jok’s family came to the United States and settled in Iowa.
After arriving at Penn in 2010, Jok established a foundation in his father’s honor with the hope of educating Sudanese children through athletics. Over the course of his Penn career, Jok has balanced his playing career with his charitable work.
Since the foundation’s creation, Jok has provided soccer balls and basketballs to children in Sudan.
The USBWA honor isn’t the first award Jok has received since the start of 2014.
In January, the senior was named one of the five finalists for the Wooden Citizenship Cup, an award given by the Athletes For a Better World Foundation.
Additionally, the Allstate National Association of Basketball Coaches named Jok and four others to its Good Works Team last week.
Despite the fact that he will play in his last game for the struggling Quakers in just under a month, Jok’s time at Penn will ultimately be defined by his successes off the court helping others.
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