So I had another crap game last night. I didn’t score, but I did get 8-10 rebounds including 3-4 offensive boards. I copped a pass right square in the nose. I don’t know if it’s because the pass was fast of if I was slow. But I really do feel lethargic and stuck in molasses when I’m on court now. Not like when I was young, at all.
<sigh> It’s going to take me quite a while before I become fit and get any skillz back that I used to have in spades.
Andrew Bogut’s rise towards basketball superstardom took another giant step today when Milwaukee Bucks chose the Australian first overall in the 2005 NBA Draft.
As expected the Victorian-born 20-year-old surpassed Australia’s previous highest draft choice Luc Longley, who was Minnesota’s seventh overall pick back in 1991.
As a No.1 pick Bogut will receive a guaranteed three-year contract worth in excess of $14 million and his agent David Bauman believes Bogut will earn more than $100 million over his career before endorsements.
Bogut raised a fist in celebration when NBA Commissioner David Stern read his name out as the No.1 pick at New York’s Madison Square Garden.
“I’m just taking that deep breath,” Bogut said.
“It’s surreal to me still. I think I’ll wake up tomorrow morning and have a better realisation.
“It’s just a dream come true.”
Whew, Andrew Gaze is playing his 600th game tonight. 600 games in professional sports. Alright, the NBL season is a short one with between 26 and 32 games depending on the year, but still he has been playing NBL for the Tigers since 1984. It’s now 2005.
Get this, Melbourne finished the 1987 season in 14th and last place with a 3-23 win-loss record. Imagine the club’s plight were it not for the unbelievable scoring of Gaze that year. He scored a season-high 60, reached 50 on six occasions and racked up 40-plus points 10 times. Gaze’s season-low, if you could call it that, was a pair of 30s. His season average of 44.1 points per game is a league best, ahead of Al Green on 39.5.
This is just one of the many heroics of Gaze. He played his 599th last weekend in Perth, but we are on a budget so I wasn’t able to go. I would have liked to have gone. One of my memories of Gaze was watching him abuse the Perth Wildcats in 1997 or 1998. He scored 26 points in the first quarter. I was wearing my replica Gaze #10 warmup top in the third row, centre court so everyone could see who I was supporting. Unfortunately at the end of the first quarter I ended up also wearing a large Coke someone threw at me, but it was worth it. As the hecklers pointed out at the end of the game, Gaze ended up being ‘held’ to 45 points so that somehow made his performance insignificant. Stupid Perth Wildcats supporters.
Ah, NBL memories. I can’t remember the exact year, but one game I loved was where the Tigers came from 19 points down at 3/4 time to pip the Magic on the buzzer. Magic hit the first two shots of the fourth quarter so they were 23 up. But little by little the tigers clawed their way back and with a few seconds left they were only two down. Who should get the ball but Lanard Copeland on the break, who had hit only two field goals all night. He was having a dog of a game. I thought, “Give it to Gaze!” who at this stage was parallel with Copes running the middle lane with only one opponent to beat. But Copeland backed himself. He faked a dribble left, took one step right and shot from 45 on the arc.
And he hit it!
This was a game where I had almost decided to go to bed at 3.4 time. It ended up being one of the most memorable games I have ever seen. Just goes to show, eh.
The NBL announced the 25th Anniversary team, the greatest players of the last 25 years of competition. They are Andrew Gaze (287), Leroy Loggins (255), Mark Bradtke (179), James Crawford (127), Phil Smyth (102), Ricky Grace (99), Scott Fisher (93), Mark Davis (69), Larry Sengstock (65) and Robert Rose (64). Brian Goorjian is the coach.
My own 25th Anniversary team would be:
Andrew Gaze, Leroy Loggins, Mark Bradtke, Scott Fisher, Mark Davis, Lanard Copeland, Derek Rucker, Robert Rose, Al Green, James Crawford, Michael Johnson. The coach would be Brian Kerle.
Great news! Lauren Jackson won the 2003 WNBA MVP! She polled twice as many votes as the second place-getter. I saw her on the Today Show this morning, saying she was coming back to Australia to play for the Canberra Capitals. If they ever come to Perth, I should convice Suzanne to go see them.
I just heard, courtesy of Roy and HG, that Lauren Jackson was the leading WNBA points scorer for 2003. This is fantastic news. She is also second in the league in blocks and rebounds, and is in the top ten in field goal percentage. She must win MVP this year, though I doubt that the Yanks would let a foreigner win it.
So the NBL has started, and I didn’t even know. The Giants are back after the Victoria Titans folded. The Perth Wildcats are back playing at Challenge Stadium, which is a real pain in the arse to get to. I used to go to all the games at the Perth Entertainment Centre because it was so easy to get there on the train. When I started working at iiNet I had to give up my tickets because I was working a lot of nights which is a shame because I had alright tickets back then. Not going to the games caused me to lose interest a bit, until I’m at the point where I am now: not even knowing that the first game is tonight! I doubt that there will be any free-to-air games televised this year. It’s a shame, but basketball in Australia is just not popular enough to outrank lawnbowls for airtime.
Suzanne, Ashton and I drove to New Norcia on the long weekend. It took about two hours to get there, but it was quite interesting. New Norcia is a Monastic town run by Benedictine priests since 1846, so there is quite a bit of history about it.
The NBL kicked off this weekend. Finally some good sport to sink my teeth into! I enjoy watching NBL more than NBA. The American brand of basketball is not as good as it once was. Just ask Lithuania. Not that I am bitter about the Boomers not winning a medal in Sydney. Far from it. But it was good to see the Americans pushed to within one shot. If they had lost, they would not have been able to return home because the media would have ripped them apart. The only difference between the US and world basketball right now is the money.
I was amused to learn that Ray Owes has joined the Tigers. He and Bradtke will be an imposing force in the paint this season. Owes and Bradtke have lead the NBL in rebounds per game at one time or another over the last 5 years.
So, who am I going for this year? I will be supporting the Tigers. Who do I think will win? The Titans will be in the finals and will probably dominate later in the season. Canberra will be lucky to win a game.
The Boomers lost their game tonight 76 to 52. I didn’t get to see the game because I was working, but I did get to listen to snippets on the radio. The French doubleteamed Gaze and Heal at every opportunity, and restricted both of them to ten points for the game. Nobody else seemed to be able to step up and assume the leadership role. The French defense was brutally smothering.
The Boomers will play Lithuania for the Bronze
The Australian mens and womens Olympic basketball teams are both into the medal rounds, which is really exciting news. The Opals just beat Brazil, and will meet the USA in the Gold medal game. I really feel that they will beat the US.
The Boomers last night had a gutsy win over Italy and meet France today in the semi final. If they beat France, they will be assured of at least Silver, and have a slim hope of beating the US team, which really is no “Dream Team”.