Time for talk is over for Bogut

Mercury (Hobart) - - SPORT BASKETBALL, NETBALL -

HE IS over all the pre-sea­son hype, now prize NBL re­cruit An­drew Bogut just wants to play some bas­ket­ball.

De­spite a mi­nor in­jury scare when he had a knee iced af­ter tak­ing a knock at train­ing this week, Bogut has been cleared to suit up for Syd­ney in their sea­son opener at home to Ade­laide tonight.

Bogut’s much-her­alded re­turn to Aus­tralia is set to at­tract even more eye­balls to the resur­gent com­pe­ti­tion, which last sea­son at­tracted record live at­ten­dances and tele­vi­sion view­ing num­bers.

“We al­ways spoke at the out­set when we first ac­quired the league about how good it would be for a player like An­drew Bogut to one day con­sider it an ap­pro­pri­ate end­ing to their ca­reer to come back to the NBL,” com­pe­ti­tion chief ex­ec­u­tive Jeremy Loeliger said.

“We didn’t nec­es­sar­ily think that it would be An­drew Bogut and I think it was a re­ally proud mo­ment for us when he de­cided to come home.”

Put up at sev­eral pre-sea­son me­dia con­fer­ences, Bogut has du­ti­fully pro­moted the game but this week was clearly more fo­cused on play­ing.

“It’s been a long pre-sea­son, so there’s been a lot of hype for a lot of months,” Bogut said.

“But I’m look­ing for­ward to just get­ting the game un­der way and get­ting out there and get­ting those nerves out and try­ing to get our first win.

“We’ve got a re­ally tough match-up, a re­ally well­coached, well-re­spected team com­ing to town so if we’re not ready for that, I don’t know if we ever will be.

“They are a run-and-gun team and they re­ally like to at­tack the bas­ket and they try to junk things up de­fen­sively, so hope­fully we’ve learnt a les­son af­ter play­ing them in the Blitz and we can ad­just.”

Ade­laide, who have won their past nine games against Syd­ney, won’t be re­ly­ing on just one man to try to curb Bogut’s in­flu­ence.

“We’re go­ing to guard him as a team and we’ll just see how we go from there.” 36ers for­ward Ma­jok Deng said this week.

While Daniel John­son will likely spend the most min­utes on Bogut, ath­letic 205cm Deng might also oc­ca­sion­ally find him­self on the former NBA cen­tre.

“It won’t be fun but it is what­ever (it is),” Deng said.

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