Game On: Andersen out to make most of Illawarra Hawks NBL return

Golden days: Coach Brian Goorjian, David Barlow, Hawks great Glen Saville and David Andersen at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. Picture: Dave Tease
Golden days: Coach Brian Goorjian, David Barlow, Hawks great Glen Saville and David Andersen at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. Picture: Dave Tease

David Andersen can see the romance of it.

The former NBA player, four-time Olympian, three-time Euro League winner and 2017-18 NBL champion has as many career honours as stamps on his passport.

And here he is, coming back where it all started in 1998 at the Hawks.

The 212-centimetre veteran vividly remembers spending afternoons in the sun at North Beach as a boom teenage rookie, thinking about where professional basketball might take him. So, at 37, is this a farewell tour?

“I’ll treat it like it probably is,” Andersen said before jetting off to China as part of an NBL All-Australian squad to play a three-game series.

“I mean, I’ve ticket a lot of the boxes I’ve wanted to during my career.

“But I’m enjoying basketball, I’m still in love with the game and I want to keep playing as long as I can.”

Andersen arrived at the Hawks for the first first season the NBL moved to play in summer in 1998-99, where they made the semi-finals but went out in straight sets to eventual champions Adelaide. 

“I remember it well,” Campbell said. “It was the first year we moved to the Entertainment Centre, so it was an exciting time for the club.”

However, Andersen’s debut wasn’t all smooth sailing, a tangle with the great Ray Borner left him with a stern ‘welcome to the NBL’ lesson.

But 20 years on, Campbell maintains Andersen will deliver his own hardened culture to the Hawks, in a bid to return to the playoffs.

Andersen has spent time training with Sydney Kings recruit and former NBA superstar Andrew Bogut in the off-season since winning the title with Melbourne United.

David Andersen in 1998. Picture: Robert Peet

David Andersen in 1998. Picture: Robert Peet

And while the Hawks still have some crucial pieces of the puzzle to add, Andersen is confident his combination with AJ Ogilvy will have them well equipped to handle the challenge of stopping Bogut.

“I’m looking forward to playing with AJ, I think we can work well together,” he said.

“We’re a couple of experienced bigs, hopefully I can pass on any wisdom I’ve picked up in my career.”

LONG ROAD BACK

David Andersen’s career

NBL debut with Illawarra Hawks: 1998

NBA with Houston, Toronto, New Orleans: 2009-11

FIBA Oceania Championship: 2003, 2005, 2007, 2013, 2015

Olympic Games: 2004, 2008, 2012, 2016

FIBA World Championship: 2010

Euroleague Champion: 2001, 2006, 2008

Italian A1 Champion: 2001, 2004, 2012

Russian Superleague Champion: 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008

Spanish ACB Champion: 2009

Italian A1 Finals MVP: 2004

Italian A1 Cup MVP: 2012

Turkish Cup MVP: 2013

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