Trailblazers' Makur Puou makes New Orleans his next basketball home - Athletics

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Trailblazers' Makur Puou makes New Orleans his next basketball home

Vincennes University sophomore Makur Puou signed a national letter of intent Friday to continue his collegiate basketball career at New Orleans.

Puou – a native of Rumbek, South Sudan, who helped Mooseheart to an Illinois Class A state championship prior to his arrival at VU – inked the letter with the Trailblazer coaching staff and some of Puou’s teammates and friends looking on.

VU amassed a record of 59-10 in Puou’s two seasons and he was named Honorable-Mention NJCAA Div. I All-American at the conclusion of his VU tenure. In addition, Puou was selected to play later this month in the NJCAA Men’s Basketball Coaches Association All-Star Game in Las Vegas.

The Trailblazers were 33-2 in Puou’s freshman campaign and finished 28-6 in 2015-16. Puou averaged 9.1 points and a team-high 7.9 rebounds as a sophomore. He also paced VU with 1.8 blocks per contest this past year. The 6-9 Puou registered career highs in points, rebounds and blocks in 2015-16. He connected on 119 of 240 shots (49.6 percent) and knocked down 71 of 98 free throw attempts (72.4 percent). He reached double figures in scoring 16 times in 2015-16, including 10 points in each of the Trailblazers’ District 16 Tournament victories and VU’s game at the NJCAA Div. I Men’s Basketball Tournament in Hutchinson, KS.

Puou was 6-for-9 from the floor and sank all six of this free throws for a career-high 19 points in an 84-75 win on Feb. 23 at Lake Land. He also had 18 points in an 83-68 victory on Dec. 2, 2015, vs. Southeastern Illinois. In that contest, Puou was 8-for-9 from the field.

A voracious rebounder, Puou had double-figure rebounding efforts in 11 games in 2015-16. He had a career-best 17 boards in a Jan. 30 win at Kaskaskia and pulled down 16 rebounds in a Dec. 19, 2015, win at Lewis & Clark. Puou also rejected or changed a wealth of shots throughout his career – especially as a sophomore. He had 10 blocks vs. Southwestern Illinois in a District 16 Tournament game. Overall, Puou turned in 12 games with at least five blocked shots in 2015-16.

As a freshman, Puou averaged 3.9 points and 4.1 rebounds per game.

In the New Orleans program, Puou will help the Privateers look to rebound from a 10-20 record in 2015-16. UNO was 6-12 in Southland Conference competition. UNO is led by Mark Slessinger, who has an Indiana influence on his coaching staff. Former Bloomington North standout, 2004 Indiana All-Star and Eastern Illinois player Bil Duany just completed his first season on the Privateers bench. Like Puou, Duany is a native of South Sudan and contributed to bringing Puou to the United States to continue his education and play basketball.

Puou, who will continue at UNO as a political science major, said New Orleans feels like the NCAA Div. I equivalent of his experiences at VU. The opportunity to continue to develop as a student, player and person drove his decision to sign with the Privateers.

“(The New Orleans program) just has great people in the staff of coaches and the guys I met who will be my teammates,” he said. “I think it’s definitely a spot where I will be able to play, and I can continue in my major. I’ve had a great time at VU; it has made me a better person…that’s the same thing I’m looking for as I continue my education, and New Orleans has that.”

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