Bogut withdraws from Boomers Olympic campaign

Bogut withdraws from Boomers Olympic campaign

Basketball Australia has confirmed that superstar centre Andrew Bogut has withdrawn from the Boomers' 2012 London Olympic Games team.

Scans of his rehabilitating ankle, which he injured in the current NBA season after landing awkwardly on an opponent’s foot, revealed that additional arthroscopic surgery will be required for the injury to heal properly, and therefore, there will be insufficient time prior to the Olympic Games for him to become fully fit.

Australian Boomers head coach Brett Brown said that the announcement was a significant blow to the team’s Olympic aspirations, but strongly reinforced his belief in the current group of prospective Boomer Olympians. The Boomers coach was particularly disappointed for Bogut as this was the second unfortunate injury to again keep him out of a major tournament.     

“Three years ago, when I was interviewing for this position, I flew to Dallas when the [Milwaukee] Bucks were playing the [Dallas] Mavericks and I sat down with him and asked him 'in the event that I was offered the Boomers job, what are your playing intentions going forward with the Boomers program?'," said coach Brown.

“He enthusiastically declared to me that he was 'all in' and with that news I went even more aggressively after the job and tried to become the next Boomers coach. I was offered the job but sadly, three years later, through great misfortune, Andrew’s injuries have prevented him from playing a single Boomers game since I have been the coach.

"I was with Andrew last week when the [San Antonio] Spurs played his [Golden State] Warriors and I have been aware of this unfortunate news for a while. He has always been honest with me. I feel for him. He has experienced some very ordinary luck during my tenure and particularly this time around, where it will prohibit him from playing with his teammates and representing his country at the Olympic Games. I will personally miss the opportunity to coach him. When he is healthy, I believe that he is one of the best three centers in the world, a true ‘game changer’ on many levels,” he said.  

Brown said the loss of Bogut will mean that the style of play the Boomers will take into London will need to be adjusted, with the team now needing to play a more fast-paced and up-tempo style.

“Andrew’s departure will force our coaching staff to revisit particularly our offensive style,” said Brown. “I believe that the group that we now have will be more effective in an open court type of game and the responsibility to put them in their best environment to succeed rests with me.

“The group that we have has been fantastic and, ironically, because Andrew has not been a part of the group in recent years, in an unusual way, it will help us as it has forced us to get used to playing without him. It has allowed us to build a core group of players that have played at a high level of international competition, the 2010 World Championship and most recently at the FIBA Oceania Olympic Qualifying series against New Zealand. This has enabled us to have consistency over those three years that Andrew was not a part of us,” he said.

Despite the loss of one of the premier big men in basketball, Brown believes that the Boomers still have the talent, balance and depth to do something special at the London Games.

“I have great faith and belief in our current group. I think we are well-balanced in terms of positions on the floor. I believe there has been continued improvement in the targeted players that we identified three years ago and I am beyond excited to come back to Australia and work with a very committed and prideful group of Boomers again,” he said.