Alumni Update: Austin’s Deng is back on the court

Published 7:35 pm Friday, January 18, 2019

Deng Deng didn’t play a lot of varsity basketball in his time with the Packers, but that didn’t cause him to give up the game.

The 2016 Austin grad stuck with it and continued to workout and play basketball while attending Iowa State University and Des Moines Area Community College after graduating high school. Eventually, Deng caught a big break.

After being undersized throughout high school, Deng grew to the height of 6-foot, 3-inches. It was then that he drew interest from Hibbing Community College, an NJCAA Division III School. But the interest didn’t come from Deng’s high school highlights, it came from a workout mix tape that he made and sent to schools.

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“I didn’t have a lot of film from high school, but they knew the program in Austin and they knew about Fads,” Deng said. “I’m glad I came up in a good system and they knew about Austin.“

After two full years of being away from organized basketball Deng has fit right in with the Cardinals (4-9 overall), where he has played in 12 games, averaging 8.2 points, 4.1 rebounds and .8 steals per game. Deng is shooting 37 percent on three-pointers and 83 percent on free throws.

He’s glad that he never gave up on basketball and Deng is now hoping to have a chance to play at a four-year school after he graduates from Hibbing this spring.

Austin grad Deng Deng, right, goes up for a jump ball for HIbbing Community College this season. Photo Provided

“It feels good to play basketball every day and practice every day. I’m doing what I love,” Deng said. “I could’ve quit after being a senior (in high school) and not playing a lot, and being undersized. But I loved the game so much, I just kept on playing and working. I always worked out and tried to get stronger. I ended up growing more, so that helped. I wanted to get better and I know this is what I wanted to do.”

Deng said he is proud to be an alumni of a Packer basketball program that has sent so many players to the college ranks in recent years.

“It feels good to be part of a program where everybody loves to do the same thing and we all have the same goals,” Deng said. “It feels like a family.”



Austin native Both Gach had a big game off the bench for Utah as he had 14 points on 6-of-7 shooting while tallying 3 rebounds and 4 assists for the Utes (8-8 overall) in an 88-70 win over Washington State Jan. 12.

Gach is averaging 7.6 points, 2.4 rebounds and 2 assists per game, while shooting 47 percent from the field, 35 percent on three-pointers and 87 percent on free throws.

Both Gach defends for the Utah men’s basketball against Tulsa in Salt Lake City, Utah on Dec. 1, 2018. Photo by Steve C. Wilson/University of Utah

Austin grad Duoth Gach poured in 30 points on 11-for-18 shooting while grabbing seven rebounds in an 86-61 win for North Dakota State College of Science in an 86-71 win over Miles Community College on Jan. 13.

Austin grad Oman Oman chipped in nine points and three rebounds off the bench in that win for the Wildcats (15-5 overall).

Austin grad Gach Gach had five points, two assists and two steals as West Texas A & M knocked off No. 20 Texas A & M Commerce.

On the season, Gach is averaging 12.9 pints and 5.3 rebounds per game, while shooting 31 percent on three-pointers and 77 percent on free throws for the Buffs (17-3 overall).


Lyle grad Kristi Fett poured in 17 points on 7-of-10 shooting to go with seven rebounds for Minnesota State University in an 88-73 loss to Southwest Minnesota State Jan. 12.

Fett is averaging 6.4 points and 5 rebounds per game for the Mavericks (5-9 overall).

Pacelli grad Sarah Holtz had 12 points and seven rebounds for Luther College in a 75-66 loss to Loras College Jan. 16.

Holtz is averaging a team-high 14.1 points to go along with 6.9 rebounds per game for the Norse (6-8 overall). She is shooting 40 percent from the field and 81 percent on free throws.

Blooming Prairie grad Taylor Hagen had eight points, two rebounds and three assists for the University of Northern Iowa as the Panthers (10-6 overall) beat Loyola 64-52 Jan. 13.

Grand Meadow grad Rio Landers had 12 points, three rebounds, two blocks and two assists for the University of Northwestern in a 68-52 loss to University of Minnesota-Morris Jan. 16.

Landers is averaging a team-high 11.1 points per game and a team-high 7.2 rebounds per game this season for the Eagles (8-9 overall).

Hayfield grad Olivia Matti is averaging 10.7 points per game while shooting 35 percent on three-pointers at RCTC (3-10 overall) this season.


Austin grad Carolyn Hackel, who competes for Minnesota State University, took third in the 60-meter hurdles with a time of 8.95 seconds at the Minnesota State Invite Jan. 11.

Austin grad Pat Hagan, who competes for the University of Sioux Falls, took third in the weight throw with a distance of 52 feet, 10.25 inches, and eighth in the shot put with a distance of 44 feet, 11 inches at the Minnesota State Invite.