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With problems back home in Sudan, senior captain Dau Jok is playing with a heavy heart but he sees basketball as a refuge when he is on the court.

Credit: Laura Francis

After Sunday’s lost to Marist, we spoke with Penn basketball senior captain Dau Jok about what it is like playing on the court with a potential for war in Sudan and his mother in the middle of it.

The Daily Pennsylvanian: Could you tell us a little bit about how this last week has been for you?

Dau Jok: It’s been a little difficult. My mom was supposed to be back on Friday, but she won’t be back for a while. She has to stay there and handle some things herself because she is a member of Parliament. So it’s been tough. I’ve been following the situation closely, and it looks like it may end up being a civil war. So it’s tough for somebody to … I lost my dad. And I don’t think my dad lost his life for another civil war. He lost his life for independence. So it’s tough, and I’m not there, so I can’t do anything about it. And that’s probably the most difficult thing.

DP: How important has the team been in supporting you in this?

DJ: They’ve been supportive. I mean, basketball is a refuge for me. And whenever I’m at practice, that’s a time for me to escape from my own personal life, and be able to just interact with the guys and stuff, and just play ball. So, it’s been good.

DP: How have your experiences in Sudan shaped you as a person and as a basketball player?

DJ: I mean, I am what I am because of that … Losing my dad and such, and living in a civil war during the heart of it. But I guess the biggest thing that it has taught me is never to take anything for granted. So, in a basketball sense, whether I get ten seconds on the court or 30 minutes, whatever I have, I’m gonna just play as hard as I can, and that’s all I can do. And just work my butt off all day.


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