Mustangs star Muoneke finds right fit at ACU
Despite having a father who starred at the University of Texas, finishing a four-year starting career as one of the Longhorns' leaders in scoring and rebounding, it took a while for Dubem Muoneke to find his way in basketball.
It didn't happen until he was eight years old, watching Kevin Durant and then rushing outside to mimic the moves he had just seen.
"With the competitiveness in me, I just wanted to keep doing it," the Cypress Ranch senior wing said.
Muoneke did, and he has, creating his own path to hopefully becoming a professional player like his father.
Muoneke verbally committed to Abilene Christian on Thursday afternoon, choosing the Wildcats because of the coaches, campus and respect for his strict diet.
"They have a really good bond between all the players and the coaches," Muoneke said. "It's almost like the whole campus is one big family. I definitely felt they were the frontrunner the whole way."
Let’s work.@ACU_MBB https://t.co/nuLRjW1XOp— Muo Dubem Muoneke🇳🇬🇨🇩🇺🇸 (@Muo Dubem Muoneke🇳🇬🇨🇩🇺🇸) 1632433530.0
The 6-foot-5, 218-pound Muoneke averaged 14.9 points, 7.1 rebounds, 1.3 steals and 1.3 blocks for the Mustangs last year, shooting 57 percent overall. He credits his diet.
"Of all the colleges I looked at, they accommodate my diet very well," Muoneke said. "I'm a vegetarian, so I went there, talked to chefs and they were able to make things happen.
"Diet helps me with breathing. I don't get as tired as fast. First quarter, everyone wants to come out aggressive, shooting, blocking, jumping. Nobody wants to do the hard work in the fourth quarter. That's when I excel. That's when I get 30, 40 points."
Muoneke's favorite meal is quinoa, which he eats at least once a day and is good for adding bulk.
"When people see him, they're shocked that he's a vegan," said Muoneke's mother, Lenea. "Most people assume if you have muscle like that and can jump like that, you're a meat-eater. Colleges knew that part of his decision will be based on the kind of food they have."
Gabe has always emphasized a healthy diet for his oldest son, not realizing its benefits until late in his playing career.
"One thing is eating right," Muoneke said. "I was always a great athlete, but I couldn't play at a high level for more than a short period of time. I was 240 pounds and lactose intolerant and didn't really know it, so I was drinking all this milk and eating all this cheese and gathering mucus in my lungs so I couldn't breathe. I didn't know that until I was 26. If I had known, I'd have done things in college and pros that keep guys going for a long time."
The Muonekes were impressed by hoops-oriented ACU.
The university is building a $55-million basketball arena scheduled to be done in January. The Wildcats' football stadium was built at $40 million.
"They showed him a video of them beating Texas (in the NCAA tournament in March), and that right there practically did it for him," Gabe said with a grin. "It is a big-time basketball university."
Muoneke's game is centered around his innate ability to get into the lane and finish.
"If you don't foul me when I drive, I'm going to go dunk it," Muoneke said. "If you don't let me dunk, I'm going to make the pull-up jumper. Those are my go-to's."
But as efficient and skilled as Munoeke is offensively, he was intrigued by what ACU posed defensively.
"They're big on defense, one of the best in the country," he said. "That's what got them their win against Texas in March Madness. I saw that, it inspired me, and it challenged me. I know if I don't play defense, I won't get on the floor. My goal is to go to ACU and go to the NBA. They understood that, said they'll help me completely, but whether or not I get on the floor is up to me. At ACU, defense gets you on the floor. Offense keeps you on it."