He produced an insane dunk that lit up social media and left tongues wagging but Melbourne United has found so much more in its latest signing. WATCH
Maluach, last month, set the basketball world alight when he skied for a most-remarkable fast break dunk for the Darwin Salties, underlining why United has had its eye on the 24-year-old since his time at the University of New Mexico.
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Maluach’s graduation speech after four years with the Lobos reveals why he was so-coveted by coach Dean Vickerman.
In it, the young man emphasised the values of education, family and time management, revealing he ditched the vice of video games that is a staple for so many NBA players.
“Basketball has been the catalyst for so many opportunities so you may think some of my greatest achievements came on the basketball court, but that’s not the case,” Maluach said in his speech.
“My greatest achievement is telling my mum that I’m a college graduate (business administration).
“As I matured, I learned to spend my time and energy on things that are important instead of things that didn’t add to my growth as a man — like playing video games all night.
“My family’s support has kept me grounded and focused on chasing my dreams and goals.”
Of Sudanese descent, Maluach migrated from Uganda with his mother, brothers and cousins at the age of 10, settling in Sydney.
“The last five years, I’ve probably spent three months with my family,” he said.
“The last two-three years I haven’t really seen them because of Covid and I went straight from America to Europe.
“Being back home is huge, I’ve always wanted to play in the NBL and I will get to see my family more.”
United is getting a 196cm uber athlete and a competitor at the guard position who is a second-year pro after he most recently averaged 13.6 points and 5 rebounds for Kouvot in the Finnish Korisliiga.
“Makuach is someone we certainly looked at last year coming out of college. We thought he handled himself really well last season in Finland for the first year of his pro career and elevated his team to the playoffs,” Vickerman said.
“He’s an amazing athlete, great rebounder, really potent in transition and his three-ball is getting to a really high level so we see him giving us a real scoring punch this season.”
Maluach, who signed a one-year deal with United, believes he can surprise in his first season in the NBL.
“My mindset is no one really knows much about me, I’m just starting from the ground up, my job is just to come in, compete and go from there,” he said.
“I’m just excited to be home and play for a club like Melbourne United.”
About THAT dunk, which was viewed more than 500,000 times on social media — Maluach had no idea how big it would become.
“When I got the ball, I didn’t really think much, I looked up and there was a lot of space and once I crossed half court, I decided to take off,’ he said.
“Once I rewatched it. That’s when I realised. I didn’t think much of it until after the game.”
Originally published as NBL: Melbourne United signs viral dunker Makuach Maluach to one-year deal