interview : Scott Catt, the new head coach for the South Sudan National Basketball Team

 
To me there is no question that the talent level in the South Sudan is the best in Africa. The South Sudan will be the best basketball program in all of Africa and, in fact, one of the best in all the world. I am proud beyond belief of the players across the world representing the South Sudan. They are working hard to become champions. Championships are won before the
tournaments even begin. The work, the passion, the pride, amazing things are just on the horizon! Amazing things are happening as we speak!

Madut Bol

I took over the program 10 months ago and immediately hired Madut Bol, son of Manut Bol, as my associate head coach. From there, I recruited former All- American Garland Judkins to serve as the second assistant. We have worked diligently to create strong relationships with college coaches, professional coaches around the globe and obviously, all of the best South Sudanese players in the world. I have worked in the CIBACOPA in the Mexican professional basketball league as well as college programs across the country. In all my time coaching there has never been a group of individuals or a country, for that matter, that are working as hard to become champions in every aspect of life.
I actually studied African History while coaching in college. I remember the day that South Sudan became a nation. I felt an overwhelming pride that day with no idea that one day I would be able to coach this amazing country’s basketball program. The first interaction I had with the South Sudan was looking in a yearbook from my high school from the 1960’s and found a picture of a young student from the now South Sudan who had studied with some of heroes who I still look up to today.
I am not paid a penny to coach the South Sudan. No one in our organisation is paid. This is a calling. This is a chance to impact the world. This is a chance to help a country that I respect with all of my heart to take the global basketball scene by storm. We are winners. A phoenix rising from the ashes. This is a country with pride in the game and the country we represent. You can’t put a price tag on winning a championship. That comes from he heart. It comes in the moments where no one is watching. Day in and day out giving it everything you have to improve. We are going to build the game and build the nation. I don’t expect money. I expect my players to go on and change the world. That’s all the compensation I need.
We established the South Sudan Basketball Association in partnership with Tomorrow Elevated to raise money for our program. All of the money is tax deductible in the United States but we accept donations and sponsorship from around the world. We are truly a global community and I think people are starting to realize, we aren’t just coming to play, we are coming to win championships.
Our ultimate goal is to compete for world championships and to be the best basketball team in Africa. On a more personal note, my goals include helping every South Sudanese youth, boy or girl, whether they play basketball or not, to get an education. I want to develop global leaders through the game of basketball. I want the world to see the pride and passion of the South Sudanese people. I plan on personally contacting every young South Sudanese player across the world, no matter how well know or not known, to help them accomplish their dreams on and off the court. From Juba to New York, from London to Calgary, we are one united community. Our goal is to build the game and build the nation.
Basketball brought peace to my life in the darkest times. That’s why I decided to become a professional coach. There is always darkness, but we are a light to the world. As we build the game of basketball we are sparking the light that will grow into a flame that will lead to education, hospitals, peace and love in a united South Sudan. If we are going to see change in the world, we have to BE the change in the world! It starts with us. Our players understand that. This is so much bigger than basketball. This is so much bigger than you and me or any one person. We are champions. As we keep our heads high and look to conquer every obstacle before us with love and determination  , we will see miracles. I want to invite everyone in the South Sudan to join us in this quest for peace and purpose through the game of basketball. One game, one nation.
I read this poem every day because it reminds me of the sacred and powerful mission I am on as the national basketball team head coach. And the mission that we are on as a global community to show the world who we are as the South Sudan, a people ready to shock the global basketball community and contribute a lasting impact not just in sports but in education, humanitarian work, the arts, diplomacy and so much more. We have the power. We have the talent. We have a chance to do something that no one thinks we can do. But we WILL!

Invictus

BY WILLIAM HENLEY
Out of the night that covers me,
      Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
      For my unconquerable soul.
In the fell clutch of circumstance
      I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
      My head is bloody, but unbowed.
Beyond this place of wrath and tears
      Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
      Finds and shall find me unafraid.
It matters not how strait the gate,
      How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate,
      I am the captain of my soul.

We are the South Sudan. No matter what you’ve been through. No matter what you are currently going through. No matter where life takes you, you are a part of this global team. Follow us on Facebook on the South Sudan Basketball Association page. If we stand together, nothing will keep us from accomplishing our destiny as the greatest African basketball nation. It will take hard work. It will take sacrifice. It will take everything we have. Our heart, our sweat, our tears, but we can hold our heads high knowing, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that we are THE South Sudan. Building the game of basketball, building the nation one person at a time. No one is forgotten. We rise together.

“None of this would be possible without the relentless efforts and continued support of the South Sudan Basketball Federation based in Juba. Not only have they provided intensive on the ground training for referees, coaches and players but they have begun to build the game of basketball throughout the country. In partnership with the Luol Deng Foundation and continuing the great legacy established by the legendary Manut Bol, the Federation is working to build a nation of youth with pride in their country and hope in their hearts. It is with the Federation in partnership with the South Sudan Basketball Association here in the USA that we are making the dreams of going to the Olympics, World Championships and FIBA games a reality. Their commitment to excellence cannot be ignored and their drive to build the country is inspiring.” 

 

Head Coach Scott Catt
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