Majok Majok: Making an Impact
By Josh Blessing | Ball State Sports Link
Picture this. You are a mother of a young boy in Perth, Australia. I know, bear with me.
For years you sit back and watch him play soccer with his friends. He loves it. You watch him love it.
Then, one day, the infamous growth spurt hits. He begins to quickly stand out on the pitch -- and in life -- among his peers in both height and size.
Maybe he should switch to a different sport? Maybe basketball is more his calling. So you say something to him.
"I grew up playing soccer, actually," Ball State's Majok Majok said with a smile. "Then I got tall. That's when mom suggested I start playing basketball."
If it weren't for that conversation with his mother, Hellen Majwec, Majok would have never found himself playing basketball inside the confines of Worthen Arena at Ball State.
His eight double-doubles in his first season with the Cardinals, which lead the Mid-American Conference to date, never would have happened.
His last-second, game-winning dunk at home against Norfolk State, a team that danced its way to the second round of the NCAA Tournament last year, never would have happened.
"I mainly moved here because of basketball," Majok said. "It's so much more competitive, faster and intense than back home in Australia."
The soft-spoken Majok joined Ball State late in the process, arriving in late summer after playing two years of junior college basketball at Midland College in Texas. His tone becomes even softer when asked to describe the culture back home compared to in the U.S.
"Back home it's laid back, easy-going," Majok said as he looked towards the ground. "Over here it's ... it's... I don't know how to describe it. Lots of differences."
Whatever those differences may be and whatever Majok has dealt with on the inside being so far away from home, he hasn't let it affect him on the court.
Majok is averaging a double-double with 11.3 points and 10.3 rebounds per game. He leads the MAC in rebounding and has scored double-digits in 12 games.
The last Cardinal to average a double-double in a season was Theron Smith, who tallied 19.6 points and 10.9 boards per game back in 2001-02.
Not to mention the number of times Worthen Arena has erupted from one of his thunderous two-handed jams.
Ball State head coach Billy Taylor said he knew the kind of talent Majok was when the Cardinals recruited him from Midland.
"Majok brings a low-post scoring option to our frontcourt," Taylor said. "We can throw the ball into him and he can create offense for himself. He brings defense in terms of shot blocking, and his athleticism allows us to pressure the basketball in the half court."
Without Majok in a Cardinals uniform, this team certainly would not look the same this season. His impact has been immediate, and the fit at Ball State seems to be a perfect one.