Majok's debut in Perth

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Majok's debut in Perth

SUDANESE refugee Ater Majok, one of the more exciting prospects in Australian basketball, will make his NBL debut on Wednesday in Sydney against the Kings - the team with which he had dreamed of playing.

Majok, 23, who last year became the first man of African heritage to play for the Australian Boomers, signed a six-week deal with NBL titleholders Perth.

The message was passed around at Christmas services all across western Sydney over the weekend that the 211cm-tall Majok was back in town and had attended church with his family.

There is likely to be a large Sudanese turnout at the Entertainment Centre on Wednesday (8pm tip-off) for the Wildcats game, which is likely to be another desperate battle as the home side continues to play with an intensity which repudiates their 11-game losing streak.

Majok has finished a contract with a Turkish second division team, FMV Isik, and is in negotiation with first division teams in the Ukraine and Russia that resume action in about six weeks, so the Perth deal is perfect for both parties as the Wildcats have temporarily lost both of their bigs, Jesse Wagstaff and Matt Knight.

"I was always interested in playing for the Kings but it never came to anything," Majok told The Daily Telegraph yesterday.

"It wasn't the money so much because Sydney were already stocked with bigs. I was really looking forward to playing with the Kings, but in any case Perth were serious and did the deal in two days."

Majok said he would play a skilled forward role but because he was currently Perth's biggest "and longest" player he would "guard the five spot [Kings centre Julian Khazzouh] but in offence I'll play the four [power forward]."

Majok had an ill-fated adventure at the University of Connecticut and was keen to play in Australia and Europe before returning to the US in June for the NBA draft.

"It helps the Sudanese community when I'm home," Majok said. "I know how many good kids there are here.

"Basketball helps to keep the kids out of trouble.

"They'll know they don't have to go to the US to do well."

Perth coach Rob Beveridge said: "Ater could be the most athletic player in the country and we have been exposed by losing our bigs, so this is a great short-term fix for us."

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