How do you stop Andrew Bogut?
For all the hype around the NBA championship winner playing in Australia, Bogut’s rivals have to deal with the serious business of limiting his influence.
And so the Illawarra Hawks will have their first chance to formulate a plan to halt the 213cm, 2005 No.1 NBL draft pick when they meet the Sydney Kings in a pre-season showdown at WIN Entertainment Centre on Sunday, September 16.
It’s the perfect preparation for Illawarra’s new campaign, as part of a double-header which includes playing Adelaide in Canberra two days prior. The Hawks have recruited NBL veteran David Andersen, who played with Houston, Toronto and New Orleans to assist AJ Ogilvy in shutting down Bogut.
Andersen has spent time training with Bogut in preparation for suiting up with the Hawks this season.
"I'm super excited to be playing the Kings – they're a superstar team," Hawks coach Rob Beveridge told the Hawks website.
"Bogut is arguably the best player I have ever coached. He is takes the meaning of the word 'competitive' to another level.
“He has a great skill set, exceptionally high basketball IQ and is one of the best passing bigs to play in the NBA. He will be the glue behind a stud team that will no doubt will be the favourites for this year's championship.
“I look forward to having Bogut visit the Gong and to see where our team is at from a preparation perspective.”
Bogut played with five NBA teams in a 14-year career, winning a championship with the Golden State Warriors in 2015 and part of an NBA record with 73 wins in the 2015-16 regular season.
The Hawks squad also includes Todd Blanchfield, who left the Kings in the off-season. Their first NBL game is against Melbourne in Wollongong on October 12. Hawks general manager Mat Campbell said the decision to play a pre-season game in Canberra at Tuggeranong Stadium would help boost the Hawks profile and development pathways in the national capital.
"Taking an NBL pre-season game to Canberra is a fantastic opportunity for the Hawks to expand our foot print and connect with basketball fans across the southern part of NSW and the ACT," Campbell said.
Friday, September 14 (7.30pm)
ILLAWARRA HAWKS v ADELAIDE 36ERS at Tuggeranong Stadium, Canberra
Sunday, September 16 (3pm)
ILLAWARRA HAWKS v SYDNEY KINGS at WIN Entertainment Centre