No Tokyo fears for 'taped-up' King Bogut

Andrew Gaze is cpnfident Boomers and Kings veteran Andrew Bogut will thrive at the Tokyo Olympics.
Andrew Gaze is cpnfident Boomers and Kings veteran Andrew Bogut will thrive at the Tokyo Olympics.

Andrew Gaze remembers how the lure of gold masked his aches and pains and is sure Andrew Bogut, who jokes he's being held together by duct tape, will experience the same boost ahead of next year's Tokyo Olympics.

Crowned the NBL's most valuable player following his high-profile shift from the NBA last year, Bogut has again starred in the Sydney Kings' 4-0 start to the season.

The centre overcame mid-week back spasms to average 12 points, 16 rebounds, three assists and three blocks in back-to-back wins over the New Zealand Breakers in the third round.

Not since Adam Ballinger in 2005 had an NBL player notched two games of 16 rebounds in the same round.

Bogut, who will turn 35 next month, described his body post game as being "stuck together with duct tape" and admitted he hadn't trained all week in an effort to suit up.

The 706-game NBA veteran's preparation seems to be working, given Bogut is logging similar numbers to his MVP season despite spending an average of seven fewer minutes on court per game.

He will be nearing 36 when the Olympics begin next July but Gaze, who was Australia's team captain as a 35-year-old at the Sydney Games in 2000, holds no fears for the Boomers star.

"You feel the burden as you get older, but the Olympics is uplifting ... it helps you overcome those aches and pains," Gaze said.

"I noticed (in Sydney) I didn't feel the pinch. It was more after that when that (opportunity to win a medal) is taken away that it ages you quite a lot.

"And Andrew's got such great basketball IQ and intelligence, he doesn't need to train every day and it means he can manage his body really well.

"He's just continued on with his form from last season."

Bogut showed his resilience during Australia's ultimately heartbreaking World Cup run in China, where they played eight games in 15 days across four cities.

The Boomers, unbeaten entering the final four, coughed up big leads in a semi-final loss to Spain and the bronze medal game against France to again be denied a maiden international medal.

Gaze, who has been replaced by Will Weaver as Sydney coach this season, was in the stands to witness the double-overtime loss to Spain.

"You saw his value and desire to play and he'll take that disappointment with him to Tokyo," Gaze said.

"The rewards are greater after experiences like that."


LAST SEASON (30 games)

* 29.8 minutes (average per game)

* 11.4 points

* 11.6 rebounds

* 3.5 assists

* 2.7 blocks


* 22.8 minutes

* 9 points

* 11.8 rebounds

* 3.5 assists

* 1.5 blocks

Australian Associated Press