TMZ Sports spoke to a spokesperson for Kim Beazley, the Aussie ambassador to the U.S., who tells us the entire country is pumped up and proud of the Australian-born star. “The ambassador is very engaged in this series,” the rep tells us … “He’s watching it very closely. We all are. We’re so excited.” We’re told the entire office feels Matt’s performance has been incredibly inspiring — “He shows people you don’t have to be 6’8″ to be a great player.”
So, is everything in Australia trying to kill us? Andrew Bogut, actual 7-foot Australian: “That’s a generalization, like saying everyone is America is fat. It’s stereotyped for a reason. There is but there isn’t [reason for saying that]. It’s not like it’s always raining spiders or there are just snakes walking down the street in the city where they’re going to jump out of a lane and eat you. “I think it’s a stereotype for a reason. There is stuff there that can kill you. Obviously if you see a swamp or water that’s not clear, you don’t jump into it. So, yeah.”
After missing last year’s FIBA World Cup after undergoing offseason rotator cuff surgery, Spurs guard Patty Mills says he plans to resume work with the Australian national team in this summer’s Olympic qualifier. “It was rough sitting out last year,” Mills said. “It was a major tournament, and it was hard knowing that I wasn’t there. Having sat out last year, I’m looking forward to getting back into the swing with the guys.”
Josh Childress: I initially received a phone call from my agent while on vacation for my birthday [on June 20]. He mentioned an opportunity to play in Sydney and expressed that he thought it would be a great experience for me. Having always wanted to visit Australia, but not being able to due to the opposite seasons (my offseason was always in the Australian winter), I didn’t really think much of it upon first hearing it. However, I ended up in Sydney after many long discussions with the head of basketball operations Tim Hudson and our head coach Damien Cotter. Having gone through a frustrating few years of basketball, I had lost the fun factor that used to be there. Not playing, being cut and getting injured made the game more stressful than fun. When speaking with both of them, they were more interested in helping me redevelop my passion and helping me build my brand off the court than on it. That’s when I really knew that I had a great opportunity.
BI: I’m keen to know about the Australian experience from an outsider’s point of view. NBL crowds are often well behaved (for the most part). You’ve witnessed your fair share of hostile crowds (especially in Greece), what are a few of the more memorable venues you’ve played in and what has made each of those experiences stick? Josh Childress: I have played in environments where I was worried for my safety – being spat on, having things thrown at you, having small explosives detonate while you shoot a jump shot or having laser pointers in your eyes while shooting free throws. These are just a few things I have experienced. I could write a laundry list of things I’ve seen while playing, but I’ll just say that I enjoy the NBL and its fans.
Before Christmas, Childress was in great form and put himself in contention for the NBL’s most valuable player award. Childress has enjoyed his time in Sydney and is interested in helping the Kings improve next season. “We’re talking about it,” he confirmed yesterday. “The injury is unfortunate and fortunate. I have a lot more downtime now to go through a contract with the Kings and my agent and find out if we can reach an agreement that’s good for both sides.”
As for the direction Australia’s basketball program is headed, Ingles says it’s looking even stronger with the incoming talent that will be coming in the future. “It’s getting stronger and stronger,” said Ingles. “We’ve got young guys playing over here (pointed to Exum at his locker) and then we have younger guys coming through in the next couple of years and what we’ve already got. I think this is the most (Australians) we have playing over here, which I think is seven guys playing over here. To add a few young guys to that who are already playing with Australia in Europe, it’s some exciting times for us.”
Jordan McRae is putting up some impressive numbers in Australia. McRae, the No. 58 pick in the 2014 NBA Draft whose rights the Sixers acquired from the Spurs, is averaging 20.9 points in 18 games for Melbourne United, making him one of only two players in the Australian National Basketball League averaging at least 20 ppg. Sixers coach Brett Brown used to coach that Australian team, so he’s keeping an especially close eye on the slender 6-foot-6 shooting guard. “We are always paying attention to Jordan,” Brown said prior to Tuesday night’s game against the Hawks at the Wells Fargo Center. “He’s in a good situation. He’s playing a lot of minutes and continuing to score. Jordan is always in the back of our minds.”
Tom Moore: #Sixers Brown on Jor McRae poss coming here after Australia season ends: ‘That’s a fair question. Jordan’s always in the back of our minds. He’s in a good situation, playing a lot of minutes. He continues to score.’ #76ers
The National Basketball League charged Sydney Kings player Josh Childress over an alleged strike on Perth Wildcats player Jesse Wagstaff at the Perth Arena on Friday 24 October 2014. The charges levelled against Childress were heard by an independent tribunal this evening and Childress entered a plea of guilty for unduly rough play and bringing the game into disrepute which was accepted.
Sydney Kings star import Josh Childress will face three charges on Tuesday and the potential sanction of a suspension, in one of the highest profile NBL tribunal hearings in the competition’s history. American Childress, widely regarded as the best credentialled NBA player to appear in the NBL after 391 matches in the world’s best club league, was ejected from last Friday’s clash with the Wildcats in Perth, after flattening opposing forward Jesse Wagstaff. Childress 31, has been charged with striking with an elbow, unduly rough play and bringing the game into disrepute. He will appear before an independent tribunal in Sydney from 5.30pm (7.30pm NZT) on Tuesday.
Childress took aim at the NBL and the Wildcats physical brand of play on Twitter after the match before later removing the comment from social media. On Friday night, the US import posted: “@NBL it was very clear who runs the league and the officials tonight. Maybe the best officiated game I’ve ever been a part of.” Childress said a number of NBL players had privately applauded his stance. “While I think the referee situation wasn’t exactly impartial and unbiased, I probably shouldn’t have tweeted what I did,” he said. “It’s an interesting situation because on one hand I’m getting vilified by thousands of people for supposedly being a thug and a dirty player.
“At the same time I felt like I needed to take a stand for myself and for my team. “We need to develop an identity and a toughness at the Kings, that’s what we’re striving to do. “Granted, I went about it the wrong way. But I can’t say that I enjoy persistently getting hit, scratched, beat and held. “I’m supposed to be the bigger person and just turn a blind eye. I’m not saying to condone what I did because I for sure over-reacted.
Childress, who still pockets a cool $7 million a season, has apologised for the Friday night brain snap which saw him ejected for striking Perth Wildcats forward Jesse Wagstaff. The ex-NBA player will most likely be charged by the NBL tomorrow ahead of a Tuesday night tribunal appearance, with the incident attracting international attention due to Childress’s global profile. “I want to apologise for my reaction, I definitely think I reacted poorly,” Childress told The Sunday Telegraph.
Well, Childress is now playing in Australia’s NBL and he still has the afro. The mild-mannered part is a different story. In a game with his Sydney Kings, an angered Childress charged toward an opponent and leveled him with a vicious elbow.
Scott Howard-Cooper: Worth noting amid global games: No plans for Australia in 2015 despite impressive NBA support there and growing list of Oz/NZealand players.
After that game and the uproar which was created, fueled by a twitter comment made by Goran Dragic, FIBA announced that disciplinary proceedings against Australia were opened. According to FIBA bylaws Australia is facing a fine of up to 500.000 US dollars and/or suspension from international tournament play if found guilty. Boomers coach Andrej Lemanis also could face a fine of 100,000 US dollars or suspension if found to have willfully manipulated the result. The reaction of the Australian federation was a denial and also the will to cooperate in the proceedings. Eurohoops posed the question about the ongoing investigation, asking also if a draw after the end of the group phase in order to determine the couplings for the rest of the competition could be a future solution and the answer of Baumann was the following, implying that what happened in Spain can be used as an example for the future: “As you know there are open proceedings for this case. The point is that something like this can’t happen again in the future. As for the draw, we are happy with our current format and we are not expecting to change it”.
Basketball’s governing body is investigating if Australia deliberately lost a World Cup game to delay a possible matchup with the United States. FIBA says “it is widely suspected that Australia lost” on purpose to Angola in a Group D game last Thursday in Las Palmas, Spain. The Angolans won 91-83. FIBA says Australia’s “on-court behavior… generated huge disappointment by basketball fans and experts.”
FIBA has announced it is opening disciplinary proceedings against Australia following the manner in which the team lost its last Group D game against Angola, 91-83, in Gran Canaria last Thursday. The on-court behaviour displayed by Australia in that game generated huge disappointment by basketball fans and experts. It is widely suspected that Australia lost that game in order to avoid having to face the reigning world champions USA until the Semi-Finals.