Ask & Answer

Do you have a question for Chris Anstey or Mark Brown? Click the link below and ask them what they think about anything involving Aussie hoops in America. Each week we’ll post your questions and their answers on this very page. Make it a good one and they’ll answer it on our next podcast.

Q: MATTHEW

Is it fair in saying NBL clubs do little to let rookie players have breakout seasons and reach the status of other established league stars? It seems the NBA is the other end of the spectrum.

A: CHRIS ANSTEY

Matthew,
I don’t believe so. Most NBA rookies that have breakout seasons do so on struggling teams, where they are handed extra responsibility quickly to sharpen their learning curve. Not many elite teams see their rookies having a big impact. Obviously there are exceptions. The NBL is no different. Nobody would expect a rookie to carry a team to a championship, and usually have pieces in place to win lots of games. Even someone like Joe Ingles, who may have had the best rookie season for a lot of years, was up and down and had some ordinary games due mainly to inexperience. Players need to learn the game, and there is no better place to learn it than on a winning team. If that is the cost of not having a breakout rookie season, then so be it.

Thanks for the question,
Chris

Q: BRAD

I was wondering what your thoughts were on young aussie players who think that by automatically trying to go over to the states and play college basketball that this will translate into opportunities and success at a professional level. I think it has been proven that the american system isn’t providing players with the best skillsets these days to compete internationally if they cant make the NBA and from what i am seeing in the NBL, guys who come back into the league from college aren’t really producing and i feel that promising aussie juniors should really be looking to play in the NBL straight away if they are good enough and build from there rather than going to a college situation that isn’t going to improve them as players, and Chris you and guys like Sam Mackinnon could attest to this given your respective B’ball career paths.

A: CHRIS ANSTEY

I believe two things about the NCAA college system. The first is that it provides an opportunity to earn an education at the same time as pursuing an athletic career. The NBL does not do this. Sure, some players come back and don’t make an impact on the NBL, but some do, and just weight of numbers suggest that many more will fall short of NBL quality than make it. It’s the same here. Don’t forget that the NBL is a pretty good league.

For the kids who have a legitimate shot at making the NBA, the NCAA puts you in front of their scouts every week. Someone like Joe Ingles may only play in front of scouts a few weeks a year, and different scouts will form different opinions based on when they saw him play.

In short, like most sports, most aspiring basketball players will never earn a living playing professional basketball. One of the saddest things to see is a young kid who has no realistic chance keep coming back to train year after year in the hope of making it because he has no other choices in life. The NCAA eliminates that by educating you. An example I have close to home is my brother, who played Div 1 basketball, a year in the NBL in between ABA jobs, but is now a fully certified accountant because he earned his degree while he played.

Q: ANNA

Andrew Bogut has largely been a disappointment for the Bucks fans – particularly as a Number 1 pick. If the ping pong balls fall their way and they get a shot at Oden do the Bucks trade Bogut away for a point guard?

A: MARK BROWN

Anna, Anna, Anna,
Let’s not give up on Andrew so soon. There is alot I like about his game. As the #1 pick of 2005, Bogut may be viewed as a disappointment in some circles but I don’t think trading him is part of the plan in Milwaukee. While Bogut may never be the premier big man in the NBA, I believe he can be a fine all-around big man on a winning team. The Bucks are in position to get a very good player in the draft and new coach Larry Krystkowiak is likely to make Bogut a more integral part of the offense. If they are healthy, they should certainly be a playoff team. If the opportunity to draft Greg Oden falls in their lap, I’m sure all options will be on the table including playing he and Andrew together. As for a new point guard, I wouldn’t argue with finding one who is more of a distributor than Mo Williams.

Thanks for you question.
-Mark

Q: WARREN

I was wondering why Damian Martin of LMU college, (WCC) name wasnt on the recent Boomers squad/21 invitation list? From his stats of last season he seemed to have had an improved season from previous years and was named WCC Defensive Player of the Year. Has he recently been injured or not included because of form? What young guards do you see leading the future Boomers?

A: CHRIS ANSTEY

I think the main reason is that many college players, even the best of them, find themselves under prepared for international basketball. Even Andrew Bogut has taken a long time to adjust to it, and is still yet to really dominate. College teams are very structured, and their players genarally aren’t given much ‘creative leeway’. You need to be able to think on your feet internationally as your opponent will have most likely been playing for years, and have a fantastic basketball brain. As for the future, I would love to see Aaron Bruce and Patrick Mills keep improving and make their mark on the Boomers. Not only are they both very good players, they are both good people.

Thanks for your question,
Chris

Q: ANDREW

Chris and Mark,
It is a fantastic effort for Patrick Mills being named in the 17 man boomer squad. The question I have is “has Patrick made a mistake signing for St Mary’s in the West Coast Conference”. From what I am hearing he is good enough to play big minutes straight away in one of the big conferences such as as the Big 12, ACC, SEC, Big 10 etc. Will this prevent him from developing to his full potential?

A: MARK BROWN

Andrew,
It is possible that Pat Mills could be a star at one of the big-time schools in a major conference. Hopefully, his decision works out. He can also be a star at St. Mary’s, lift them to the conference championship and into the NCAA Tourney on a regular basis. And by the way, Steve Nash came out of Santa Clara in the WCC and look at him now (and don’t forget about John Stockton,Gonzaga) just to name two.

Thanks for writing in,
Mark

A: CHRIS ANSTEY

I don’t believe so. Andrew Bogut proved that you don’t have to play in the big name conferences to fulfill your potential, as did the 1998 #1 NBA draft pick Olowokandi (Pacific / Big West), Wally Szcerbiak (Miami Ohio / MAC), and Derek Fisher (UALR / Sun Belt Conference).

Q: DAVE

Hey Chris and Mark.
What do you guys think of Sam Harris?

A: MARK BROWN

Dave,
Sam Harris is having a very difficult time getting minutes at Old Dominion. Though he has incredible size at 7’3″, he doesn’t make enough of an impact when he is on the floor to merit more minutes. He has one more year of eligibility at ODU and he will be part of the AIS 21-man Try Out and Development Camp in June so there is still the opportunity to improve. ODU graduates it’s top two bigs but with Sam’s limited athletic ability and skillset, he will have to become a bigger factor doing the things he can do like rebound and block shots.

Thanks for the question,
Mark

Q: ELDEAN DEMMERY

What are your thoughts on the young Patrick Mills making the Boomers squad? Can you tell me more about his playing style, and do you think he has what it takes to play in the NCAA!

A: CHRIS ANSTEY

I really like Patrick. He is a small, very quick point guard, who didn’t look out of his depth at the last Boomers camp. He is still growing his offensive game, but is already very good defensively in the full court. I’m not sure if he will be ready to play for Australia by Beijing, but he will be an exceptionally good NCAA player from day 1, and I think will develop into Australia’s premier point guard.

Thanks for your question,
Chris

Editors note: Go to the MULTIMEDIA page and listen to St. Mary’s Assistant Coach, David Patrick, speak about Pat Mills.

Q: TRIGGER (follow up question)

sorry i didn’t ask that correctly, i was refering to the 21 man squad that was named with sum quite inexperienced players named including sam harris who at 7’3 has great size but that seems to be about it. Nevill is averaging more rebounds than this guy is minutes. how does he get a look in over him!? suprising to see a few nbl guys who have little impact named in that team. what are your thoughts there?

A: CHRIS ANSTEY

Trigger,

Remember that the NBL is a far superior league quality wise to the NCAA. As a spectacle, sure, the NCAA, but the level of play is lower. Someone like Stephen Hoare, who has won best 6th man in the NBL the last two years, would be one of the best 50 players in the USA college system. As for comparing the two bigs, that’s Goorjian’s call. He obviously sees more in some players than others, and has a proven track record. Essentially that group is learning what the Boomers is about, and I would be surprised to see any college players (maybe Kickert) make the team.

Thanks,
Chris

Q: TRIGGER

chris, you seem to rate Nevill highly, i agree at 7’1 and a good build has the body for the nba and has also put up great numbers! can you explain why his not in the boomers squad???

A: CHRIS ANSTEY

Trigger,

The big P word, potential. I think with an Olympics coming up soon we need to keep the squad as small as possible so that we get used to playing with each other. In reality, Nevill isn’t as good as Bogut, Andersen or Nielsen yet, so there are no spots left for him.

Thanks for your question,
Chris

Q: KEITH LATHAM

Does joining an elite NCAA basketball school help a players development more than a non-elite or even ‘mid-major’? Daniel Dillon at Arizona isn’t getting enough playing time to remember what the ball feels like, and looks to be maybe the 4th or 5th guard next year. While Aron Baynes at Wazzu, surging this year but hardly elite, is getting considerably more work than Dillon, as is Iti at New Mexico State, and all the guys at the ‘mid-majors’. I’m an Arizona fan, but was Arizona right for Dillon?

A: CHRIS ANSTEY

Keith,

It’s hard to say. To be the best, you need to challenge yourself. If you have a chance to go to a school like Arizona, you take it, then work your butt off to get some playing time. If you do this, you are going to end up making the most of your potential at college.

For players who aren’t quite up to an Arizona type school, you pick a school where you will get both playing time and an education at the end of it.

All in all, I think Arizona was the right choice for Dillon- now he needs to keep improving and earn more court time.

Thanks for writing,
Chris

A: MARK BROWN

Keith,

As I sit here at Madison Square Garden watching Roy Hibbert and Georgetown destroy Villanova in the first half of their Big East quarterfinal, it occurs to me that your question points out an interesting dilemma for all young basketball prospects. By the way, if the 7’2 Hibbert keeps playing like this, he’ll go #3 in the NBA draft right behind Oden and Durant in no particular order.

I’m sure Dillon is learning quite a bit in Arizona from a Hall of Fame coach and practicing against great competition. However, if he can’t get minutes in real competition, it’s a big problem for his development. I think you may be right. Dillon came to Tucson with limited offensive skills and competes for time with players who can really score. Sometimes defense-oriented guys become even more specialized when they are surrounded by others who are more aggressive offensively. Dillon may have flourished more in a lesser program but he is now forced to make the best of his situation. You never know, Shakur is done this year and the Wildcats have had plenty of guys leave early and if new recruits are not quite ready, Dillon may just get more of a chance but he’ll need to make himself more of a scoring threat for next year.

Thanks for your question,
Mark

Q: MITCHELL SALTER

Hey,
Matthew Knight is having a great season carrying his team due to the injury of Brandon Worthy. Where do you see Matt Knight next year? Back in the NBL, EuroLeague or somewhere else??

A: MARK BROWN

Mitchell,

I’ve had an opportunity to watch Matty closely recently and I have a great deal of respect for what he has accomplished at the NCAA Division I level. He’s had a great career at LMU and has helped them win a lot of games. That said, I don’t see Matty as an NBA player. Though he is very tough and powerful, at 6’8 he’s not quite athletic enough to play the power forward position at the NBA level. EuroLeague is the next best level in the world. If he stays healthy and works hard he might be able to sign with a team that qualifies for that prestigious competition. With all the domestic leagues in Europe, I am confident that he has the ability play somewhere on the continent. I had a chance to speak with him on campus last week and he is setting his sights on Europe or the NBL and of course plans to be a factor for his country in international competition.

Thanks for your question.

-Mark

A: CHRIS ANSTEY

It’s hard to say without knowing him personally. NBL teams wil be salivating over him if he chooses to come back to Australia, but I would suspect he will pursue an overseas options first. Whether that be some summer leagues in the States or accepting a European offer, I don’t know.

Chris

Q: HELEN

Could you tell me what you know about Andrew Boguts Aust coach? I think the name is Sisa Markovic?
Thanks Helen

Editors note: His name is Sinisa Markovic

A: CHRIS ANSTEY

Helen,

He is someone who has been a mentor for Bogut since he was a junior at Dandenong. His full attention is on Bogut, and can see areas where he may be slipping during extended periods with the Bucks. He flies over to the States a few times a year to do extra work with Andrew, almost like a service for your car. Actually, let’s just call him Bogut’s mechanic for now- he fixes the little things that others miss.

Thanks for your question,
Chris

Q: ROSS FORAN

With so many young Aussies playing in the college system in America these days, what are the prospects for seeing another Aussie going in the first round of the NBA draft over the next few years?

A: MARK BROWN

Ross,

There are a growing number of Aussies playing significant roles in NCAA hoops over here. At this point, most would not appear to have NBA futures let alone 1st round prospects. With 2 more years left after this one, Luke Nevill has the best shot to be an NBA player and a 1st round pick. Aleks Maric (1 year eligibility remaining) is a very productive big man in a tough conference but I have my doubts about his NBA future.

One wildcard is Martin Iti. His height, length, quickness and athletic ability suggest NBA potential but he has not put it all together to be a starter on his New Mexico State team. His coach, former NBA star Reggie Theus, knows NBA talent and he thinks it’s still possible for Martin but he has only one more year of eligibility after this season to prove he is worhty.

Thanks for your question.

A: CHRIS ANSTEY

Ross,

It’s really hard to say. It depends on who else is available for the draft, and at current rates, European basketball is improving much faster than Australian and American basketball. If I had to pick the Aussie who may be an NBA draft pick soon, I would say either Luke Nevill or Joe Ingles, but they both need a bit of time to develop and need to continue to improve. I think it would be great for Australian basketball if Ingles got a shot.

Q: DEREK

Is Luke Nevill receiving much praise in the media in the states for his consistent play at the moment? Is he one of the top 5 or so big men in college basketball at the moment?

A: MARK BROWN

Derek,

The National media is not really giving Luke much publicity and a lot of that has to do with the fact that Utah is not ranked and not winning. In Utah and within the Mountain West Conference, he is acknowledged as a top player.

I believe Luke is very good and I expect him to eventually be among the top 5 big men in the NCAA. At this moment he is not.

Big men that are ahead of him are guys like:

Greg Oden, Ohio State
Glenn “Big Baby” Davis, LSU
Joakim Noah, Florida
Nick Fazekas, Nevada
Jermareo Davidson, Alabama
Randolph Morris, Kentucky
Aaron Gray, Pittsburgh
Tyler Hansbrough, North Carolina.

All of those players play for nationally ranked programs.

Most of those guys will graduate and/or leave early for the NBA this spring so I think the door is wide open for Luke to be a top 5 NCAA big man next season especially if he can lift the Utes to national prominence.

Q: SIMON GEE

How do you distinguish path taken into the NBA. In particular the path into the NBA either via the NCAA or the NBL.

Looking at NBL players like Brad Newley and Joe Ingles, and the NCAA players like Luke Nevill, and Matthew Knight.

How would you go about rating these players playing in completely different leagues and their potential ability to ever make the NBA.

In partcular Joe Ingles vs Matthew Knight, as they are both the same height at 6’8.

A: CHRIS ANSTEY

I think the NCAA is proving more and more to be the best route for any young player hoping to play in the NBA. Australian basketball is refereed much differently, with more soft fouls being called resulting in players being rewarded with free throws for moves that would not be rewarded overseas.

Joe Ingles definitely has a huge potential, but my hope is that he doesn’t form habits of expecting to get to the line overseas like he does in Australia. Brad Newley commented after the World Championships how much more physical it was, and how much harder you had to work for a lay up. I think young players in Australia need to be better schooled in Australia for that transition.

Having said that, I think Ingles has as good a future as any Aussie at the moment, especially when he gets a bit stronger. I haven’t seen enough of Knight to compare him to Ingles, but from the little I have seen, I think Ingles is a bit better at this stage. While the refereeing is different, Ingles is playing against better and more mature players every day, which has seen him improve a lot this season already.

A: MARK BROWN

Simon,

Traditionally, the path to the NBA has been through the NCAA. NBA executives have adjusted their thinking on this and increasingly are looking overseas. Obviously, Europe is where they have concentrated most. The talent level is high and the travel is easier for scouting.

That said, from what I read (I haven’t been able to see Newley and Ingles play) they are stars already in the NBL. The fact that they compete among professional men every game can only help them and if they can show their skills in International competition with the Boomers that will help to elevate their stock.

NBA talent evaluators often “Go with what they know”. They know how talent relates from the NCAA game to the NBA. They are not as familiar with the NBL to NBA comparison. If you are in the NCAA, scouts will see you play all year long. That is the major advantage to being in the States.

As for the Matty Knight-Joe Ingles comparison, Matty is more of an inside player and I believe Ingles is more of a swingman.

Q: DEREK

Hi guys; In both your expert opinions, who out of the extensive current crop of Aussie NCAA players will (if any) make the NBA?

thanks,
Derek

A: CHRIS ANSTEY

Derek,
None at this stage stand out, although Nevill may be the best equipped physically if he can prove himself against some of the better big men in the country.

A: MARK BROWN

Derek,
At this point, Luke Nevill has the best chance to be an NBA player. He’s a legit 7’1″, can add more muscle to his frame and still has 2 more years of eligibility at UTAH after this season. He is a classic low-post center who is building his game from the inside out. I am confident that as he matures physically and adds more skills to his game he can someday be a 1st Round NBA Draft Pick.

Q: MITCH, of Brisbane

Mark/Chris

One of Australia’s most promising talents Pat Mills has signed on to play with St Marys next year, what sort of role do you feel he will play in this team and do you feel he will make an impact straight away or be a player that they will work on slowly?

Thanks
Mitch
Brisbane

A: CHRIS ANSTEY

Pat made his first Australian camp this year and I spent 2 weeks training with him. I really like him. He is small, but incredibly quick. He is very mature for a player his age, and held his own at the camp. His full court ball pressure creates problems for anyone. I would expect him to see some minutes in his freshman year, even as a freshman in a great program, and to turn into a very good college player. I see him eventually being one of Australia’s premier point guards.

Thanks for your questions.