Mitchell Christian's 6-foot-10 Kur eligible and ready to play
After sitting out a full year of high school athletics, Mitchell Christian junior Majok Kur is set to play his first game today. Kur, a 6-foot-10 center, was ruled ineligible to play any high school sports by the South Dakota High School Activiti...
After sitting out a full year of high school athletics, Mitchell Christian junior Majok Kur is set to play his first game today.
Kur, a 6-foot-10 center, was ruled ineligible to play any high school sports by the South Dakota High School Activities Association last year because he wasn't under a typical foreign exchange student program.
Mitchell Christian head coach Dennis Martin said while sitting out a year was tough for Kur, he accepted the ruling and has made the most out of his time at Mitchell Christian.
"It was hard for him," said Martin, whose team plays in its season opener against Iroquois at 8 p.m. today in Iroquois. "He is a christian, young man, and he accepted the ruling as God's will. He decided to sit out a year from all athletics and stay at Mitchell Christian rather than transfer to a different state, such as Florida, where he could have played right away."
Martin said the team is excited to have Kur eligible to play this year.
"It's a new system for our kids, and we're going to have to figure out how to play together and use his talents," Martin said. "It's still basketball. Just because you're tall, doesn't mean you're going to be good."
The Golden Eagles finished last season with a record of 4-17 and return Dakota Wesleyan University basketball recruit Austin Bormann, giving the team a strong inside-outside combo.
"We're looking to get good minutes from him," Martin said about Kur's role with the team. "We think he is going to be a good high school player, and he has really come on this last year working on his game individually."
Kur, who did not want to comment, played some basketball in Sudan before joining the Mitchell Christian basketball team. Martin said the adjustment process has been smooth.
"It's been a full acclimation for both the school and Majok," Martin said. "He came out of a war-torn country in South Sudan and it has been a lot of change for the young man, but he has handled it really well."
Martin said Kur's english has improved a lot in the past year and he is doing well in school.
"He is committed to our program and our school," Martin said. "He certainly enjoys the city of Mitchell and the state of South Dakota."
While Kur's eligibility became a controversy last year because of the SDHSAA's ruling, which did not allow him to play, the junior's future is also in question.
"The state of South Dakota has said he can play this year," Martin said. "We are still waiting to hear on confirmation if he can stay and play his senior year."
Kur came to Mitchell in November 2013 on a F-1 visa from Sudan through the A-HOPE program.
A-HOPE is a non-profit organization, based in Bloomington, Ind., that was founded in 2004 and stands for African Hoop Opportunities Providing an Education. According the organization's website, A-HOPE's mission is to provide deserving student-athletes a seamless process of obtaining a student visa.
Most foreign exchange students come to South Dakota under a J-1 visa, which allows for one year of athletic eligibility.
The difference between the F-1 and J-1 visas is the duration of the stay. The J-1 visas are apart of an official program sponsored by the U.S. government or the students respective country's government and it allows students to remain in the U.S. for the duration of their study period and then return home.
F-1 visas are issued to someone in order to pursue an educational objective that is privately funded and not part of an official government exchange program or government sponsorship.