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Alier Maluk Q&A

Credit: USA Basketball

After being born and spending early childhood in South Sudan, Alier Maluk moved to the United States where he eventually took up basketball. Starting out playing as more of a guard, Maluk developed his cognitive motor skills early before growing into his current 6’10” frame. Now the class of 2025 forward boasts a versatile two-way game thanks to his impressive coordination, agility, length and perimeter skill-set. Look for Maluk to continue boosting his stock as he aims to lead Imani Christian Academy (PA) to a state title this season.

As part of the Pro Insight Q&A series, Maluk discusses how he got his start in basketball, his on-court attributes, recent experience with USA Basketball, recruitment update, off-court interests, and much more.

For the next installment of the Pro Insight Q&A series, we present 2025 prospect Alier Maluk, from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania:

Pro Insight: Talk about your basketball journey — how did you get to where you are today?

Alier Maluk: I started playing basketball at the park with all of the older kids. At the time I met an older kid [Mark] in the neighborhood and he kind of took me under his wing. He had a couple other brothers and we started working out and we’ve been tight ever since.

PI: How old were you at the time?

AM: I was around 7 or 8 years old.

PI: Were you naturally talented from the start?

AM: I’d say I was a naturally good shooter, but I’ve since developed all of my talent since.

PI: Do you play much back home in South Sudan?

AM: I didn’t really play basketball back home, I was just playing soccer. I was in South Sudan until I was three years old.

PI: Do you have any other athletes in the family?

AM: No, I’m the only one in my immediate family.

PI: Where do you get your height from?

AM: Both of my parents are over 6’1” and my grandparents were tall.

PI: Are you the tallest member of your immediate family?

AM: Yes I am.

PI: Have you always been tall or did you hit a growth spurt?

AM: I hit a growth spurt later in life.

PI: Did you start off as a guard?

AM: Yeah, I wasn’t always the biggest when I played so I always had to play as a guard. Then I just grew.

PI: Talk about the basketball culture in South Sudan.

AM: It wasn’t as good when I was younger, there wasn’t a lot of basketball. It was more popular later in the decade, but [when I was there] there was hardly any basketball. The closest places to play were either Kenya, Egypt or Ethiopia.

PI: Describe your game — what are some of your greatest strengths?

AM: I’m a good rim protector, rebounder and shooter.

PI: What about some improvement areas?

AM: I’m working on my physicality and my left hand.

PI: What would you say is an underrated aspect of your game?

AM: I’d say my passing.

PI: Have you always had good court vision?

AM: I developed it later on as I started getting double-teamed.

PI: Any players you watch or model your game after?

AM: Brandon Ingram and Kevin Durant as forwards and Kyrie Irving as a guard.

PI: Talk about your summer — what did you show coaches and scouts?

AM: I would say it was a good summer. I got to really show the coaches my fluidity and rebounding.

PI: Was it a big summer in terms of picking up offers?

AM: I’d say it was a good summer for that. It wasn’t too big at the beginning, but I picked up three to four towards the end.

PI: What are some of your goals for this upcoming high school season?

AM: I want to win sectional and win state. Those are my goals for the year.

PI: Did you come close to winning state last season?

AM: We lost in the semi-finals.

PI: Can you share a bit about your family’s journey to America?

AM: Yeah, my dad got through a camp during the war and he got to Kenya. Then they picked him to be selected to go to America. He got sent to Arizona and I was born in Africa. Then he paid for me and my mom to come over to the states.

PI: Have you been back to Sudan?

AM: No, I’m trying to go back so I can play on the National Team.

PI: What’s the latest with that?

AM: Yeah, my coaches have that connection with them.

PI: Have you participated in anything with the National Team?

AM: No, not yet. I want to see if I can play soon, but it’s a different league out there.

PI: You recently participated in the USA Basketball minicamp — how was that experience?

AM: It was great. Good competition and NBA scouts were there. I’m just glad I played the right way.

PI: Were you nervous or excited to show out in front of NBA teams?

AM: I was excited. I wasn’t more or less nervous, I was more eager to see what it was. I hear a lot of hype around it so I wanted to see for myself what it was all about.

PI: Was that your first time going up against that much concentrated talent?

AM: I’d say all at once, yes.

PI: How do you feel like you measured up?

AM: I feel like I held up well. Thursday I wasn’t as good, but the second day I did a lot better.

PI: Any players impress you that you hadn’t seen before?

AM: Not really. I’ve played against most of those guys so I wasn’t really impressed. It was more or less if you can get a bucket then go get a bucket.

PI: Do you have a preference between representing the USA or Sudan?

AM: I enjoy Team USA because of the NBA circle, that’s my main reason being there and I wouldn’t mind playing for Team USA. But playing for my country is a little different because there are two different leagues and you’re representing your country.

PI: What’s the latest with your recruitment?

AM: I’ve talked to USC, Kansas, Oregon, UCLA and Michigan State most recently.

PI: How surreal is it to be getting all of this attention?

AM: It’s all glory to God, I wouldn’t be able to do it without His strength and putting in the work day after day. I wasn’t always the biggest or fastest guy, but putting everything together makes anything possible.

PI: Any schools you’d like to hear from?

AM: Not really. Can’t really think of any right now.

PI: Have you taken any unofficial visits or do you have any upcoming plans?

AM: I’ve visited West Virginia, Pitt and Duke. I was supposed to go down to Michigan State this week, but I wasn’t able to make it. That might be my last one if I take the visit. After that I’m done with visits until the spring.

PI: How did you enjoy those visits?

AM: They were good visits. It was good to see all of those college coaches in person.

PI: What messages are coaches sharing with you throughout the process?

AM: They’re telling me to just keep playing hard and take things one day at a time.

PI: Ideally what are you looking for in a college program?

AM: A program that will let me play my game.

PI: What does it mean to let you play your game?

AM: To play inside-out and let me take guys off the dribble from the perimeter as opposed to being stuck in the paint.

PI: What are some of your interests off the court? Any unique hobbies?

AM: I’d probably say playing video games or hanging out with my friends. I’m mostly at school, but I’m with my guys all of the time. So joking with them or going to the movies or something.

PI: What video games are you playing?

AM: Call of Duty: Warzone most of the time, the new one just came out. NBA 2K, as well.

PI: How would you rank yourself in Warzone compared to your friends?

AM: Uh, I don’t know, I'd say I’m probably the third-best. I’m not terrible, but I wouldn't say I’m the best. I contribute [laughs].

PI: What TV shows have you been into lately?

AM: More into Rick and Morty, Family Guy and a bunch of others.

PI: Do you read books as well?

AM: I’ll read books assigned to me in class, but other than that, not really.

PI: What’s your favorite subject in school? Why?

AM: I’d probably say geometry. I’ve been enjoying that class the most.

PI: If you had one hashtag to describe yourself, what would that be?

AM: I’d probably say #concealed. I don’t really speak too much with outside people, I’m more within the circle.

PI: If you could go out to dinner with anybody dead or alive — who would you choose?

AM: I’d probably say Kobe Bryant. I’d have a lot of questions to ask him about his mentality and why he thinks the way he does.

PI: Is he your favorite player?

AM: No, but I do enjoy watching him, though.

PI: Do you try to incorporate his mindset?

AM: I would say that and his post game. Kobe was 6’7”, if I can do that at 6’11” then I’ll be unstoppable.

PI: Where do you see yourself five years from now?

AM: Probably in college or the NBA.


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