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Wednesday, August 04, 2021
The independent student publication of The Unversity at Buffalo, since 1950

Men’s basketball adds highly-ranked recruit Kuluel Mading

Six-foot-nine power forward brings versatility and untapped potential to the Bulls

Kuluel Mading joins Zaakir Williamson and George Washington University transfer Maceo Jack as the newest member of the Bulls’ 2021 recruiting class.
Kuluel Mading joins Zaakir Williamson and George Washington University transfer Maceo Jack as the newest member of the Bulls’ 2021 recruiting class.

Three-star Class of 2021 prospect Kuluel Mading verbally committed to play college basketball at UB on April 16.

The 6-foot-9, 180 lb. power forward reopened his commitment in January after decommitting from Howard University last November. Mading, a high school senior, received offers from Clemson, Tulsa, Wichita State, San Jose State, East Carolina, UNC Greensboro and Elon before ultimately committing to UB two weeks ago, according to Rivals.

Mading joins Zaakir Williamson (No. 38 center in the nation, according to Rivals) and George Washington University transfer Maceo Jack (son of UB women’s basketball coach Felisha Legette-Jack) as the newest member of the Bulls’ 2021 recruiting class.

While Rivals ranks Mading as the 38th-best power forward in his class, 247 Sports national composite rankings lists Mading as the 47th-best power forward and 10th-best high school player from North Carolina in his class.

Mading scored 15 points, grabbed seven rebounds and blocked four shots to help The Burlington School in Burlington, NC win the North Carolina state championship in March. He was named to the North Carolina Independent Schools Athletic Association’s Class 2A all-state team, solidifying his place as one of the best players in the Tar Heel State.

Mading, the fourth-highest rated recruit in UB history, comes to the Queen City as a versatile stretch four who can shoot from the perimeter, score inside, handle the ball well and serve as a rim protector on defense.

“We are very excited about the addition of Kuluel,” UB head coach Jim Whitesell said in a press release. “He has great upside and our fans are really going to enjoy his athleticism and versatility. His high school head coach Ryan Bernardi built a winning culture at The Burlington School and those are the types of players we look to bring into this program. We have consistently produced All-MAC caliber big men here at Buffalo and with Kuluel and Zaakir [Williamson], the future is extremely bright.”

‘Potential’ is a word that seems to follow Mading everywhere he goes.

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Bernardi says Mading has all the tools to become a dominant player at the collegiate level and that his impressive development over the past year at Burlington is a sign of bigger things to come for the big man.

“Kuluel has a chance to be special at the next level,” Bernardi told Rivals in January. “He has come so far in such a short time and still can get much better. He will be a huge ambassador to whichever school he goes to.”

Mading’s game has made its rounds across the internet, with popular basketball media outlets such as uploading his highlights online — some of which garnering hundreds of thousands of views.

The North Carolina native announced his commitment to UB on Twitter earlier this month. In addition to his over 1,700 Twitter followers, Mading has just under 17,000 followers on Instagram, and has since tagged UB basketball in his bio.

While Mading has amassed a serious following from high school basketball aficionados, his motivation to play transcends the game itself.

Mading’s parents settled in the U.S. in 1999, before he was born, to escape the Second Sudanese War. But, although his parents were able to get out of Sudan, many of Mading’s family members still reside in Northeast Africa. Mading hopes to use basketball as a way to connect him with his loved ones overseas.

“I use basketball as a tool, hopefully I make it to the league [the NBA] so I can give back to them and hopefully bring them to America so they don’t have to struggle anymore,” Mading told North Carolina’s WXII-TV in February 2020.

An exciting prospect with a versatile game and a unique family story, it appears Mading has a lot to offer to the Bulls on-and off-the-court.

Anthony DeCicco is the Senior Sports Editor and can be reached at and @DeCicco42 on Twitter


Anthony DeCicco is the senior sports editor for The Spectrum. In his free time, he can be found playing video games, watching ‘90s Knicks games and arguing with people on NBA Twitter at 3 a.m. 



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