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Bogut surpasses Longley, Maker chooses Australia

Author imageAOC07 Apr 2015
Exciting basketball prospect Thon Maker says he wants to play for Australia, while Andrew Bogut surpasses Luc Longley's mark for the most NBA games.

BASKETBALL: One of the world's most exciting basketball prospects, 216cm tall Thon Maker, says he wants to play for Australia.

The 18-year-old, who will likely compete with another Australian teenager, Ben Simmons, to be the number one pick in next year's NBA Draft is completing his final year of high school in Canada.

Maker was born in Sudan, raised in Australia and in 2012 moved to the US to further his basketball career.

A question mark has hung over what nation he will choose to play with at the Olympics and World Cups.

"As of right now I'm doing everything I can to play for Australia," Maker told sports website tipofthetower.com.

Last week executive vice president of Basketball Canada, Rowan Barnett, admitted his organisation was "taking a very hard, long look" at Maker and his younger 208cm brother Matur Maker as potential members of future Canadian teams.

The brothers were attending the elite Carlisle School in Virginia, but made a surprise move in September when they joined Canada's Athlete Institute for Thon's final year of high school.

"I still love Australia," Maker said.

The centre, with his height, ball-handling skills and long-range shooting accuracy, has been compared to NBA All-Star Kevin Durant and is expected to announce this month what US college he will play for.

The future of Australian basketball is bright, with Maker and Simmons set to join Andrew Bogut, Patty Mills, Aron Baynes, Matthew Dellavedova, Joe Ingles, Dante Exum and Cameron Bairstow in the NBA.


Bogut passes Longley record in NBA loss

He's the new record man of Australian basketball, but Andrew Bogut needs to add some jewellery to his collection before he can be considered as the country's all-time great.

Bogut passed Luc Longley's mark for the most NBA games played by an Australian when he suited up for his 568th appearance on Sunday night.

The record-breaking occasion didn't entirely go to plan, with Bogut's Golden State Warriors suffering a 107-92 loss to the San Antonio Spurs.

The result broke Golden State's 12-match winning run, but Bogut was a strong contributor with 10 points and seven rebounds.

Despite enduring a horror injury toll throughout his career, 30-year-old Bogut has now racked up more games, points, rebounds, and blocks than Longley.

But there is one glaring difference that puts Longley head and shoulders above Bogut - the three Championship rings Australia's Hall of Famer won while playing for the all-conquering Chicago Bulls in the 1990s.

Bogut has a great chance to close that gap this season.

Golden State are guaranteed to finish on top of the Western Conference after compiling a dominant 63-14 record.

Atlanta (57-19), Houston (53-24), Memphis (52-25), LA Clippers (52-26), and Cleveland (50-27) loom as their biggest challengers, while the Patty Mills-led Spurs (51-26) are also in the hunt to defend their Championship.

Bogut has played a significant role in the Warriors' resurgence this season.

The 213cm centre has averaged 6.3 points, 8.2 rebounds, and 1.6 blocks in 63 games, with his strong inside work allowing guards Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson to flourish.

Although Bogut's minutes are limited and his stats are hardly overwhelming, his impact within the team is highly regarded.

"He's the anchor back there," Warriors coach Steve Kerr told NBA.com.au.

"We have a lot of good perimeter defenders, long and active. They do a lot of switching, they guard multiple positions.

"Then Bogs is the middle linebacker. He's the one who's calling the signals and just anchoring everything, and protecting the rim when people do get the ball in the paint."

Bogut appeared destined to forge a decorated NBA career after being snared with pick No.1 in the 2005 NBA draft.

But his career hit a snag in 2010 when he dislocated his elbow, broke his hand, and sprained his wrist in a horror fall from a slam dunk.

More recently, knee, back, and ankle injuries have forced Bogut to carefully manage his battle-weary body.

If he can stay fit, Bogut looms as a key cog in Australia's attempt to snare a basketball medal at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio.


MOST NBA GAMES BY AUSTRALIANS

* Andrew Bogut - 568

* Luc Longley - 567

* Patty Mills - 274

* Chris Anstey - 155

* Matthew Dellavedova - 133

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