Listed at 7-foot-3 and 220 pounds, junior center Bol Kuir
of Belfry (Ky.)
is making a name for himself in his first year of high school basketball.
A native of South Sudan who grew up playing soccer, Kuir is just beginning to learn the game with limited club action as his only form of organized basketball prior to the season.
Kuir's story is reminiscent of fellow African big men Hakeem Olajuwon and Joel Embiid, who also had a background in soccer before transitioning to the hardwood in their late teens.
All he's done so far this season is lead the Pirates to an 11-8 record, averaging 14.0 points, 12.5 rebounds and 3.6 blocked shots per game.
"He rim runs as good as any big man I have ever seen," Belfry head coach
Mark Thompson said. "He moves well, runs well. His upside is unreal. I
have never had an NBA player but he has what I would consider NBA
skills. His range and touch are impressive and he's still just a
Kuir came to the United States prior to the 2019-20 season
but was ruled ineligible at two West Virginia schools he attended
because he was not part of a formal student exchange program and lacked
"In my 24 years in coaching this is the most impressive kid I have ever seen in practice," Thompson said. "His work ethic is phenomenal and he just wants to improve. He's a great kid, a really special talent and he would love to play at the next level."
It's clear that Kuir is picking up the game quickly, recording his first triple-double Feb. 8 against Prestonburg with 16 points, 16 rebounds and 10 blocks.
Since that breakout performance, Kuir's production has been on the uptick, averaging 17.0 points, 15.3 rebounds and 5.0 blocked shots over that eight-game span. He's shooting 67 percent (103 of 152) from the field on the season according to statistics submitted to MaxPreps.
In his most recent outing against Letcher County Central last Tuesday, he flirted with another triple-double, finishing with 19 points, 18 rebounds and eight blocked shots.
"He's constantly being double and sometimes even triple-teamed. He's always going up against a double team though every time he touches the ball," Thompson said.
As seen in the opening sequence of the video above, Kuir has unique skills for a player that his size that would seem likely to intrigue coaches at the next level.
"He is as offensively skilled as any kid I have ever coached because of his ability to handle the ball at 7-3," Thompson said.
With no access to gyms during the pandemic, college coaches have yet to get the opportunity to watch the towering big man play live. Thompson reports he has received interest from multiple high major programs but is still awaiting his first offer.
Belfry, an unincorporated rural community near the West Virginia border with less than 5,000 citizens, is known for its dominance on the gridiron. The Pirates have won seven state titles, including five in the past seven seasons.
The basketball team has never captured a KHSAA Sweet 16 title, but with Kuir in place, Thompson is hopeful his team will have an opportunity to make their first state tournament appearance since 1992.
"He's really elevated our basketball program," Thompson said. "I think we have a real shot to make a run at a Sweet 16 berth in one of the next two seasons. It's just been a real fun year coaching him and having him be apart of our program. The kids have really embraced him and he feels comfortable here."