Australian reactions to Andrew Bogut going No. 1 in NBA Draft
The 2005 NBA Draft is in the books. As expected, Australian center Andrew Bogut was taken No. 1 by the Milwaukee Bucks. Here are reactions to Bogut being the first player selected by some leading Australian basketball personalities:
Andrew Gaze: – The legendary Australian basketballer who is now one of Australia’s most recognizable and popular sporting personality. Gaze earned an NBA Championship ring in 1999 with the San Antonio Spurs. “It has been an amazing couple of years for Andrew Bogut. It was not too long ago that he was an emerging junior here in Melbourne and now after having played for Australia in the World Junior Championships and then at the Athens Olympics and some valuable time at Utah, he has become a force in World basketball. While the 2005 NBA draft is going to be another exciting step forward for him, I look forward to watching him develop not only in the NBA but also in his role for the Australia Men’s Team. Andrew Bogut is exactly what Australian Basketball needs right now.”
Luc Longley: – The first-ever Australian to play in the NBA and was a member of three consecutive Chicago Bulls NBA championship teams from 1995-96 to 1997-98. “I don’t know Andrew and have seen very little of him play however my impression is that he is the real thing. The NBA seems to think so also and the feedback I have had on him has been exciting. One thing that I do know about is the amount of fun it can be to play in that league. Andrew is about to find himself in Basketball Disneyland where the characters are larger than life and the lifestyle fantastical. If he can keep the storyline from straying toward Hollywood he will have a ball’.
Shane Heal: – The retired Australian legend is a three-time Olympian and played for the NBA Minnesota Timberwolves and San Antonio Spurs. “Bogut will be a player that can fit straight into the NBA system and help his new team from day one. There have been a lot of international picks that have been flops. Bogut will not be one of these guys. His hands are amazing for his size. His passion hunger and confidence will take him to the next level. This is fantastic for Aussie hoops.”
Australian Basketball Statement: “Australian Basketball is now set to return to its halcyon days of the mid 1990’s. Boasting arguably the Worlds best female player in Lauren Jackson, it is now time for another elite Australian Andrew Bogut to forge his way in the Worlds Toughest Men’s competition, America’s NBA. This week we will see the drafting of Andrew Bogut and as if it was planned by some greater power, Australia now has a replacement to focus their attention at the same time that Gaze, Heal and Longley have stepped off the International Basketball stage. The NBL and the Australian Men’s Basketball program are looking for grander results at the World Championships in 2006 and there is a new energy in Australian Basketball that will ensure good results are not far away. Women’s basketball in Australia is stronger than ever and Australia is now renowned for producing the toughest female basketball players in the world. As mentioned Lauren Jackson is a tremendous influence here in Australia but others such as Penny Taylor, Trish Fallon and Kristy Harrower are also having a major impact on the profile of Australian Women’s Basketball Players on the world stage. However, the standard was originally set by Michele Timms, who played for the Phoenix Mercury when the WNBA began in 1997. The Aussie sensation made her mark on the WNBA and women’s basketball with her gutsy play, all-out hustle and electric personality. 2001. Timms professional career began in 1984 with the Bullen Boomers of the WNBL in her homeland of Australia. She became the first Aussie, male or female, to play pro ball abroad when she signed a contract with Lotus Munchen of Germany in 1989-90. Timms also competed for the Australian National Team, which won bronze in the 1996 Olympics and silver in the 2000 Olympics.