Anyone who has seen the documentary Lost Boys of Sudan (and everyone should) can appreciate the story of Thon Luony and Mathiang Muo. Both are Sudanese refugees who possess the height and athletic ability that is prized by basketball scouts who troll through those communities and pluck out a few lucky ones, delivering them to shady outfits like Ring True and other nonprofits that exert a great deal of control over their futures.
A Boston Globe article tells of how as a child, Luony survived murderous Sudanese militias only to be "rescued" from poverty by basketball scouts who delivered him and a friend to a high school in Centereach, New York.
But tuberculous sidelined Luony. Meanwhile, his friend John Riek -- a towering 7-foot-2 -- proved
to be the superior basketball player. The twosome wanted to transfer from the school, but they say school officials threatened to have them deported if they followed through.
Eventually, another talent scout rescued them from that situation -- if only because Riek held such promise as a player. Had Luony sought aid purely from himself, he might have had a longer wait.
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