Edmonds-Woodway’s Mutdung Bol celebrates a 3-pointer during a game against Arlington on Jan. 9, 2019, at Edmonds-Woodway High School. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)

Edmonds-Woodway’s Mutdung Bol celebrates a 3-pointer during a game against Arlington on Jan. 9, 2019, at Edmonds-Woodway High School. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)

Edmonds-Woodway junior is a Division-I basketball prospect

Talented guard Mutdung Bol has taken his game to a new level, and college programs have noticed.

It’s all coming together on the basketball court for Mutdung Bol.

Since debuting at the varsity level two years ago as a skinny and talented freshman with a nice jump shot, the ultra-athletic Edmonds-Woodway guard has expanded his game and developed into an NCAA Division I prospect.

Bol has established himself as one of the area’s premier prep basketball players, averaging 19.1 points, 7.5 rebounds, 2.7 assists, 2.8 steals and 1.3 blocks per contest in a standout junior campaign.

“This is the year I think I’m breaking out (and) putting all the pieces together,” he said.

Never was that more evident than during his performance against Arlington earlier this month, when he totaled an eye-popping 38 points, 14 rebounds, four assists and four steals while carrying the Warriors to a 74-71 win over one of the top teams in Wesco 3A/2A.

“When he gets going from all three levels, he’s impossible to stop,” Edmonds-Woodway coach Robert Brown said. “He can get to the rim (and) his mid-range jump shot is great. And then when he gets going from 3-point range, he’s close to unguardable at this level of basketball. … He’s really special at scoring.”

Bol’s elite talent has caught the attention of college programs. This past summer, the 6-foot-3 recruit received Division I scholarship offers from Big Sky Conference programs Eastern Washington and Portland State. Other schools also have shown interest, Brown said.

“He’s starting to get up on everybody’s radar now,” Brown said. “And he (still) has another year of high school, which is crazy.”

Edmonds-Woodway’s Mutdung Bol (left) attempts a shot with Arlington’s Griffin Gardoski closing during a game on Jan. 9, 2019, at Edmonds-Woodway High School. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)

Edmonds-Woodway’s Mutdung Bol (left) attempts a shot with Arlington’s Griffin Gardoski closing during a game on Jan. 9, 2019, at Edmonds-Woodway High School. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)

Bol said his inspiration on the hardwood stems from his family’s background and the struggles his parents experienced halfway around the globe in Africa.

Before Bol was born, his parents fled war-torn South Sudan and moved to the United States to create a new life for their family. South Sudan, which gained its independence in 2011, recently suffered through a devastating five-year civil war that killed nearly 400,000 people and left millions displaced, according to The Associated Press.

“That impact of what my parents went through and what others are going through right now inspires me to work hard,” Bol said. “My dream would be to go to the NBA or get to a level where I can have a really big impact on those who are struggling in those areas, or just anybody who’s struggling — (to) help them out so they can live a better life.”

For the past few years, Bol has lived with current Edmonds-Woodway assistant coach Michael Richards and his family. The two first met when Bol was a fourth-grader attending a Boys & Girls Club clinic run by Richards. Richards began coaching Bol in sixth grade, and the two formed a bond.

“The more I was helping him, the more information that he wanted to (learn) from me,” Richards said. “… And at the same time, he was hanging around my family, so he was just around a lot.”

Richards became Bol’s legal guardian when he was in eighth grade.

“His parents are great people,” Richards said. “It just kind of came down to what was going to be best for him. His parents and I talked and just thought it’d be best for him to (live with my family). He still speaks with them. He’s not out of touch or anything like that. It just kind of turned out to be that way.”

“It was a better environment for me to be better as a person and better as a basketball player,” Bol said of living with Richards’ family. “… I’m just blessed to have met him (and have him) in my life. Words can’t explain how grateful I am.”

As a wiry freshman on the Edmonds-Woodway varsity team two years ago, Bol leaned on his smooth jump shot and basketball intelligence to compensate for a physical disadvantage against older and bigger opponents.

“He was 98 pounds soaking wet as a freshman, and he (was) playing varsity basketball,” Brown said. “His body has (since) filled out, but his intelligence was already a step above everybody else when he first got on the varsity court, so his mind was already varsity basketball-ready. His basketball IQ is ahead of everybody he plays against.”

Since then, Bol has added strength and expanded his game to become an all-around player. Part of Bol’s training included 5 a.m. workouts three mornings a week with Richards and Richards’ nephew, Erroll, a senior on the E-W team.

Bol’s hard work and supreme athleticism have been on display this season with accurate outside shooting, highlight-reel dunks, acrobatic finishes in the paint, massive blocks, strong rebounding and more.

“He’s always been able to shoot fairly well,” Richards said. “Now he’s developing his game going to the basket, becoming a playmaker and helping other people get involved.”

Edmonds-Woodway’s Mutdung Bol (right) controls the ball with Arlington’s Griffin Gardoski defending during a game on Jan. 9, 2019, at Edmonds-Woodway High School. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)

Edmonds-Woodway’s Mutdung Bol (right) controls the ball with Arlington’s Griffin Gardoski defending during a game on Jan. 9, 2019, at Edmonds-Woodway High School. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)

“He knows he’s slight of build, so he’s not running in there jumping into contact,” Brown added. “But his ability to play with more physicality … has been huge.”

Richards described Bol as a “tape junkie” who frequently watches basketball YouTube videos of his favorite NBA players, which include Michael Jordan, Kevin Durant and Seattle native Jamal Crawford, who starred at Rainier Beach High School and currently plays for the Phoenix Suns.

Bol was one of 30 high school players from around the state invited to participate in an elite basketball camp hosted by Crawford this past Labor Day weekend. Bol said he’s conversed with Crawford on Twitter, and that the 19-year NBA veteran has shared advice with him.

“He’s really humble and modest about what he does, helping the community out,” Bol said. “He’s a really good guy, and that’s (why) I try to take after him.”

Brown described Bol as having some of those same qualities.

“Mutdung is just a great kid,” Brown said. “He has been a leader as soon as he stepped on campus. He’s one of those kids that everybody kind of loves. Kids just follow him — he just has that kind of personality. He’s always smiling, always happy, upbeat. He’s a selfless kid, a team-first kid always.

“There’s not enough good things to say about him.”

Talk to us

More in Sports

The Herald’s Athlete of the Week poll.
Vote for The Herald’s Prep Athlete of the Week for April 12-18

The Athlete of the Week nominees for April 12-18. Voting closes at… Continue reading

Washington's Lauren Sanders, center, spikes the ball against Dayton's Lexie Almodovar, left, and Lindsey Winner, right, in the third set during an NCAA volleyball tournament in Omaha, Neb., Thursday, April 15, 2021. (Chris Machian/Omaha World-Herald via AP)
Glacier Peak grad Sanders climbs UW volleyball record books

The senior middle blocker has made an impact on and off the court for the Sweet 16-bound Huskies.

Minnehaha Academy's Chet Holmgren, the No. 1 NCAA college basketball recruit in the country, gestures during a press conference where he announced he will be attending Gonzaga University to play basketball, Monday, April 19, 2021, in Minneapolis. Chet is flanked by his father, David Holmgren, left, and mother, Sarah Harris, right.  (David Joles/Star Tribune via AP)
Top recruit Chet Holmgren heads to Gonzaga, Suggs to NBA

Like Suggs, the 7-foot-1-inch star from Minnesota will likely play only one season before jumping to the pros.

Monroe's Trey Lane runs the ball during the game against Lake Stevens on Friday, March 12, 2021 in Monroe, Wa. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
All-Wesco teams announced for traditional fall sports

The standouts from the shortened fall sports season.

Kamiak's Cade Weatherbie and Meadowdale's River Stewart fall while fighting for the ball during the game on Friday, April 16, 2021 in Mukilteo, Wa. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
GALLERY: Kamiak shuts out Meadowdale in boys soccer

Westin Joyner and Junior Phomnath combine for the clean sheet in the Knights’ 3-0 win.

Prep sports roundup.
Prep results for Friday, April 16

Prep results for Friday, April 16 (check back frequently for updates): (Note… Continue reading

FILE - Seattle Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch walks off the field after NFL football practice in Renton, Wash., in this Friday, Dec. 27, 2019, file photo. During Marshawn Lynch’s 12 NFL seasons he earned a reputation for his fearless style on the field, while remaining one of the league’s most reclusive figures off the field. Now the retired running back is lending his voice to try to help members of Black and Hispanic communities make more informed decisions about receiving COVID-19 vaccines. Lynch released a 30-minute interview with Dr. Anthony Fauci on his YouTube channel Friday, April 16, 2021, becoming the latest prominent athlete to sit down with him to discuss the efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines as the U.S. continues to combat the pandemic.  (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File)
Marshawn Lynch discusses vaccine hesitancy with Dr. Fauci

The former Seahawks star is hoping to help Black and Hispanic communities make informed decisions.

Exterior of the new Quil Ceda Creek Casino on Thursday, Jan. 21, 2020 in Marysville, Wa. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Tulalip Tribes reach deal with state on sports betting

If all goes to plan, the tribes could get federal approval for sports books at two casinos by the fall.

Seattle Sounders midfielder Joao Paulo (6) celebrates with forward Raul Ruidiaz (9) and midfielder Josh Atencio, right, after Paulo scored a goal against Minnesota United during the second half of an MLS soccer match, Friday, April 16, 2021, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
Sounders thump Minnesota in season opener

Seattle welcomed back fans and the start of the MLS season with a 4-0 win on Friday night.

Kevin Clark / The Herald

***Silvertips Special Sections*****
Yan Khomenko signals for substitution Sunday night at Xfinity Arena in Everett, Wa on September 6th, 2015

Sports:  Silvertips Special Section
Shot on: 09/06/15
Silvertips rally to defeat Thunderbirds

Everett comes back from a one-goal deficit in the third and beats Seattle 5-3 to snap a short skid.

Seattle Sounders forward Raul Ruidiaz (9) dribbles past Los Angeles FC defender Tristan Blackmon during the first half of an MLS playoff soccer match, Tuesday, Nov. 24, 2020, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
Sounders ready to open season after roster overhaul

Seattle’s team will look different, but the GM insists it’s not a rebuild after another run to the final.