The Rio Olympics are inching closer, and Andrew Bogut has faith in the Australian Boomers' chances this year.
During an interview with SEN Breakfast's Francis Leach and David Schwarz yesterday morning. Bogut shared his thoughts on a number of topics, ranging from the intensity of the Warriors' January schedule, Aussie NBA prospect Ben Simmons' potential, the Boomers' impending run at Rio and more.
On Simmons and the Boomers
Bogut has mentioned this before on SEN Morning Glory's last show, and affirmed Simmons' potential to be one of the best ever once more.
“[Simmons is] going to be probably one of the best, if not the best Australian basketballers ever," Bogut suggested. "He’s got all the tools, very athletic, very talented. I think there’s big things for him going forward.”
The tantalising prospect of getting Simmons into the green and gold this year however, is balanced against Simmons' need to develop his game, especially after the NBA draft in June this year.
Simmons had expressed interest in joining the Boomers during an interview with Roy Ward in August last year, but made it clear there were no commitments on timing as yet.
"If it's a good situation I would definitely love to do that and I definitely want to play in an Olympic Games before I'm done playing - it's definitely a goal," Simmons said. "Soon as I finish college, this first season, I don't know where I will be. I might be another year in college or I might be in the NBA - I'm not sure. So if it fits in perfectly with the timing, then I would love to do it."
Having been the first pick in the NBA draft back in 2005, Bogut understands the constraints Simmons faces.
“Hopefully we can get him in Olympic uniform this off-season, that would be very nice,” Bogut acknowledged. “But he’s got a lot on his plate, he’s got to keep working.”
The Boomers' roster talent
With that being said, the Boomers' potential roster is still filled with experienced, talented athletes who will be ready for the Olympics. Bogut himself heads the list, and it includes names like Patty Mills and Matthew Dellavedova who made a huge impact during Game 1 of the recent Oceania series against New Zealand, French All Star and Boomers veteran David Andersen, Ryan Broekhoff who's apparently drawing NBA interest with a strong Euroleague season, and of course Joe Ingles, who looks to return in a Boomers jersey after missing out last year's Oceania games, among others.
"We have a lot of guys playing in the NBA for the first time, which helps us have more competition for spots," Bogut said. "It's going to be a tough pick for Lemanis and the coaches and the Basketball Australia staff because we've got a lot of talent, but we're very very confident going in that we can hopefully do something special."
The Rio campaign could very well be Bogut's final Boomers run, and he also talked about his feelings towards representing Australia, and whether it was a major priority to him in being an Olympian.
"No doubt. Unfortunately I have had some injuries in the past and missed 2012 which I was gutted about. So I'm looking forward to '16."
"It's always a great honour to play for your country, you don't get many opportunities to do it, especially with the longevity of the NBA season and the toll it takes on your body," Bogut expressed. "I guess once you're in your 20s and early 30s, you want to try and be in green and gold as much as possible and this year will be no different."
Andrew Bogut on SEN Breakfast with Frank and Ox
Don't forget to listen to the full interview with Bogut on SEN Breakfast below.
*Interview quotes transcribed with assistance from Alistar Sullivan and Sam Monaghan.