NBA Projected 2025 Draft Pick: At 7 Feet 2 Inches and 17-Year-Old Khaman Maluach is Already Playing Like a Pro

Duke Blue Devils commit Khaman Maluach has undergone a remarkable transformation from a bit player to a rising star in the Basketball Africa League (BAL). Now, more eyes are on him than ever before as he competes for the City Oilers where he made his professional debut two years ago in a recent competition. When Maluach first stepped onto the BAL stage in 2022 at the tender age of 15, he was playing for Cobra Sport from South Sudan, his birthplace and the nation he represents internationally. Just a year later, he reached the finals with AS Douanes of Senegal, a country where he currently resides while attending the NBA Academy Africa.

This year marks a full-circle moment for Maluach as he stars in the Nile Conference for the City Oilers from Uganda, the place where he grew up and first began playing basketball. His rapid rise has been propelled by his education at the NBA Academy under the guidance of assistant technical director Joe Touomou. The same mentor who once shaped Joel Embiid’s early career now has Africa’s brightest new prospect under his wing. Unlike Embiid, who initially hid out of nervousness at a Luc Mbah a Moute camp, Maluach exudes confidence—bordering on arrogance—but with the skills to back it up.

This self-assurance was evident at last year’s BAL when, despite limited game time and early losses, he boldly advocated for more responsibility on the court. Coach Mamadou ‘Pabi’ Guèye eventually heeded Maluach’s call, and the young star played a pivotal role in leading AS Douanes to the final. Although he wasn’t yet the centerpiece of his team, Maluach’s potential was undeniable. Post-BAL, he dedicated himself to improvement, winning the MVP award at Basketball Without Borders Africa and becoming the youngest player at last year’s FIBA World Cup. Representing South Sudan, Maluach helped secure their Olympic spot with standout performances, including a game-high six rebounds against China.

Now projected as the third pick in the 2025 NBA Draft, Maluach continues to demonstrate not only his physical and technical prowess but also his resilience, determination, and audacity. His journey is just beginning, but at 17 years old and 7 feet 2 inches tall, he is already playing like a seasoned pro, poised to make a significant impact on the global basketball stage.

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