The ‘Bogut ef­fect’ in full force this sea­son

The Weekend Post - - Sport -

MATT LOGUE AN­DREW Bogut has only been back on Aus­tralian soil for nine months but the for­mer NBA cham­pion is al­ready help­ing the NBL break records, on and off the court.

In a tes­ta­ment to Bogut’s pop­u­lar­ity and re­spect within the hoops fra­ter­nity, he has placed the do­mes­tic game on the map this sea­son.

And it all starts on the floor, where the vet­eran Boomers big man has put on a show.

Af­ter 10 games in the 2018/19 sea­son, Bogut leads the league in re­bounds and blocks.

He has also pro­duced plenty of trade­mark dunks to have sup­port­ers across the coun­try flock­ing to venues to watch him play.

Bogut’s pres­ence has played a ma­jor role in both games be­tween the Kings and United in Melbourne at­tract­ing a 10,300 sold-out crowd.

Syd­ney’s up­com­ing away games against Perth and the Hawks in Wol­lon­gong also have the sold-out sign up.

Bogut’s sign­ing has also re­sulted in Syd­ney’s crowds be­ing up by 25 per cent while the freeto-air au­di­ences on Chan­nel Nine are up 17 per cent.

Throw in on­line cov­er­age of NBL in­creas­ing by a whop­ping 146 per cent and Aussie hoops is in a strong po­si­tion.

Syd­ney Kings coach An­drew Gaze has thor­oughly en­joyed hav­ing Bogut’s big-name aura on board this sea­son.

“When you’ve got a seven footer com­ing down the back and mak­ing passes like a point guard, it is some­thing you don’t get to see any­where in the world,” Gaze en­thused about Bogut, who spent 13 sea­sons in the NBA.

“Bogues has been ter­rific for us. He also has a great per­son­al­ity and is so me­dia friendly, in that he isn’t your run of the mill ath­lete that just gives you stock stan­dard an­swers.

“He says things that do gen­er­ate im­pact and I think that sparks a lot of the non-bas­ket­ball fans who have heard of Bogues but maybe have never got into the NBL or watched it.

“But be­cause of his im­pact he is bring­ing a few more eye­balls on the game.

“But re­gard­less of where he was play­ing, he was prob­a­bly go­ing to have that im­pact.

“We are for­tu­nate he is at the Kings be­cause ev­ery­where we go he cre­ates a lot of at­ten­tion due to the ca­reer he had in the NBA.”

Kings GM of Bas­ket­ball Jeff Van Gronin­gen played a vi­tal role in se­cur­ing Bogut’s signa- ture. Van Gronin­gen has been in con­tact with the for­mer No.1 draft pick dat­ing back a decade about the prospect of one day fin­ish­ing his stel­lar ca­reer in Aus­tralia.

“An­drew is a trans­for­ma­tional fig­ure in the game in this coun­try,” said Van Gronin­gen.

“His pres­ence in the largest mar­ket in Aus­tralia com­bined with the ris­ing stan­dard of the game here is an align­ment that is per­fect.”

Gaze be­lieves Bogut’s NBL stint at the Kings will pave the way for other Aus­tralian NBA play­ers to fin­ish their ca­reers at home. The likes of Patty Mills, Matthew Dellave­dova and Joe In­gles have all in­di­cated they would like to re­turn to the NBL one day.

Gaze says the NBA play­ers’ de­sire to play Down Un­der is a tes­ta­ment to a resur­gent do­mes­tic league.

“The NBL is a league now where our NBA play­ers would be ex­cited to come back and not feel­ing like it was some sort of obli­ga­tion,” he said.

“Those guys have still got long ca­reers to play out but it would be great to see some of them play in the NBL”.

ROY­ALLY GOOD: An­drew Bogut (cen­tre) of the Syd­ney Kings has had a pro­found im­pact on NBL since com­ing back to play this year.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.