Sport

Boomer warms up for NBA

IT isn't every day that one of the world's great sporting organisations comes knocking.

And when they do, why would you say no?

Aron Baynes certainly didn't when NBA power, the San Antonio Spurs, offered him a $A4.4 million deal over four years at the start of 2013.

The 26-year-old was playing for Union Olimpija in the Slovenian Basketball League at the time, on slightly less than half that money.

Baynes, one of the best players for the Boomers at the London Olympics, had trialed with another NBA club, the Sacramento King, in 2009. But after failing to earn a spot on the roster he headed back to Europe where a host of Australia's best basketballers ply their trade for double what they would earn in the struggling NBL competition back home.

In a star-studded roster that included the likes of Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobli, it was no surprise Baynes struggled to get game time, especially considering the team was on top of the western conference at the time and would go on to play against Miami in the NBA finals.

"San Antonio is one of the best organisations in professional sport in the world. That was certainly part of my decision to go," the 208cm forward/centre said.

"I went in mid-way through the season so I knew there wasn't going to be much room for change. It was more about complementing what was already in place.

"The finals was a great series to be part of - unfortunately we didn't get the result."

With the NBA pre-season not starting until October, Baynes has been in camp in Canberra where the Boomers have been preparing to take on New Zealand's Tall Blacks in the two-game Oceania Championships, starting in Auckland tonight.

While a hamstring niggle will keep him sidelined for game one, the Aussie line-up will include Spurs teammate Patty Mills, plus players from leagues across Europe including David Barlow, David Anderson and Joe Ingles.

Baynes said he and Mills were using the series, which will help determine seedings and groupings at the 2014 world championship, as a springboard for the coming NBA season.

He also the pair were keen to do all they could to help the sport in Australia.

"We're trying to be ambassadors for basketball in Australia - I love playing for Australia," Baynes said.

"The sport has been through a tough time with teams dropping out of the NBL, so anything we can do to help raise the profile, we will."

Despite those problems, the sport continues to churn out talented youngsters.

Dante Exum, 18, Cameron Bairstow, 22, Ben Simmons, 17, and Ryan Boroekhoff, 22, will all have the chance to show their wares against the Kiwis as new coach Andrej Lemanis builds a squad for the world championship, and also the 2016 Rio Olympics.

Game two of the Oceania Championship will be in Canberra on Sunday.

Baynes had worked out for NBA teams including the Sacramento Kings in 2009, but didn't stick in the big league.

After flirting with Erazem Lorbek in the offseason, Spurs brass were no doubt impressed by Baynes' EL regular-season display (during which he looked much like Lorbek, 2011-12 edition) in which all he did was lead the league in two-point attempts, two-pointers made, offensive rebounds, total rebounds and performance index rating.

$US3.5million over four years.

Born in Gisborne, New Zealand, Baynes most recently played for Union Olimpija of the Slovenian Basketball League in 2012-13. In 10 games he averaged 13.8 points and 9.8 rebounds in 26.2 minutes.

Baynes, 6-10/260, began his professional career in 2009-10 playing for Lietuvos Rytas of the Lithuanian Basketball League, a squad that went on to win the Lithuanian National Championship. In 2010-11 he played in Germany for EWE Baskets Oldenburg before joining Ikaros Kallitheas in Greece the following season.

In the summer of 2010 Baynes was named to the Australian senior national team and competed at the 2010 FIBA World Championship in Turkey. Baynes then represented Australia at the 2012 Olympic Games in London, where he averaged 7.5 points and 3.3 rebounds while shooting .656 (21-32) from the floor.

Baynes played collegiately at Washington State from 2005-09, where in 122 career games he averaged 8.7 points and 5.4 rebounds in 22.0 minutes.

Baynes will wear No.16 for the Silver and Black.

XXX

NBA players Patty Mills and Aron Baynes headline a 15-man Australian men's basketball squad named ahead of this month's Oceania championship series against New Zealand.

The San Antonio Spurs pair will join six other London Olympians in Canberra next Wednesday for a final training camp before the two-game series tips off on August 14 in Auckland.

The second match will be played in Canberra on August 18.

Along with the experience of Joe Ingles and Matthew Dellavedova, coach Andrej Lemanis has added a swag of young guns to his squad for the biennial competition - which Australia won in 2011.

Teenagers Dante Exum and Ben Simmons as well as Cameron Bairstow and Ryan Broekhoff - who led the Emerging Boomers to a silver medal at last month's World University Games in Russia - will be looking to stake their claim for a spot in the final 12.

Lemanis said he was pleased with the commitment shown from the Boomers most senior players who made themselves available for the championship series.

"We all know that the successful teams - the teams that win medals - spend time together every year," Lemanis said on Friday.

"This year we are working with a heavily reduced schedule, but it is still great to get to work with a core of guys who have been with the program for a period of time.

"The players are here for the right reasons - we are all here to represent the Boomers, represent Australia on the world stage and have a shot at winning a medal."

Lemanis said the Boomers were "in a good place" and he was looking forward to seeing his youngest charges start their development within the team.

"The series against NZ will be a great challenge. They are coming off eight games preparation in China. Our build up will be more limited, so it will be a good test for us to see how we respond.

Australian training squad: David Andersen (free agent), Cameron Bairstow (University of New Mexico), David Barlow (free agent), Aron Baynes (San Antonio Spurs, NBA), Ryan Broekhoff (free agent), Matthew Dellavedova (free agent), Dante Exum (BA CoE), Adam Gibson (Adelaide 36ers, NBL), Joe Ingles (Maccabi Tel Aviv, Israel), Patty Mills (San Antonio Spurs, NBA), Luke Nevill (Townsville Crocodiles, NBL), Brad Newley (CB Gran Canaria, Spain), AJ Ogilvy (Sydney Kings, NBL), Anthony Petrie (Adelaide 36ers, NBL), Ben Simmons (Montverde Academy High School, USA).

Topics:  basketball, boomers, nba, san antonio spurs


Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

Construction workers to be rewarded

REWARDED: Members of the construction industry will be rewarded at the 2016 Construction Skills Queensland Excellence Awards. Photo: Alistair Brightman / Fraser Coast Chronicle

It's time to reward our hard workers in the construction industry

Circus workshop rolls into town

TRICKS: Karyn Smith and Marguerite Peach of Sensory Circus Tribe. Photo: Darryn Smith/Sunshine Coast Daily

Circus workshop rolls into town

WFC Premier men's team take out Mackay City Brothers

A WFC Reserve Grade player locked in combat with the Mackay City Brothers at the Whitsunday Sportspark on Saturday.Photo Peter Carruthers / Whitsunday Times

Victory for WFC Premier men's team cements top spot on ladder.

Latest deals and offers

July 2: election fast facts

SINCE the last federal election there have been changes to the Senate voting system that voters need to be familiar with when Australia goes to the polls.

Member for Dawson heralds list of acheivements

Member for Dawson, George Christensen, holds a list of his achievements in the Whitsundays.Photo Peter Carruthers / Whitsunday Times

George Christensen unveils a three-metre scroll of his achievements.

Man caught drinking beers in car home from mine site

Tweed residents have been urged not to drink and drive at the Traffic Offenders Intervention Program.

Magistrate says drink driver had a "very lucky escape"

LISTEN: Six illegal Bowen workers await deportation

AIN'T ALL BAD: Backpackers like Alice Arzenton, Irene Brussa and Jasmine Piller are thrilled to have found somewhere like Robertson Flower Farm in Bundaberg that treats them well. Photo: Max Fleet / NewsMail

Carl Walker applauded the tough approach.

Aviation fire fighter union says passenger safety is at risk

AIRPORT SAFETY: John Ring of the United Firefighter Union at the Whitsunday Coast Airport on Monday.

Fire fighting union is warning passenger safety is at risk.

RESULTS: Show Whitsunday 2016

Kendell Davies with her horse Chino during the ribbon presentation at this year's Show Whitsunday

The results of the 2016 Show Whitsunday are in.

Caitlyn Shadbolt, Sara Storer join Gympie Muster bill

Caitlyn Shadbolt performs at CMC Rocks in March 2016.

AWARD-winning singers star in third line-up announcement.

Dash Cam of Slip in Snow

Even light snow can be hazardous.

Dash cam shows how easy it is to lose control in even light snow.

Chaos outside Istanbul Airport

Turkish police block the road after an suicide bomb attack at Ataturk Airport in Istanbul, Turkey, 28 June 2016. At least 10 people were killed in two separate explosions that hit Ataturk Airport.

Distress as cars escape Istanbul airport after bombing.

Panic inside Istanbul Airport

Turkish police block the road after an suicide bomb attack at Ataturk Airport in Istanbul, Turkey, 28 June 2016. At least 10 people were killed in two separate explosions that hit Ataturk Airport.

Dramatic vision from inside Istanbul airport after explosin.

Burnett Heads housing development approved

COUNCIL APPROVED: A Burnett Heads housing development has been approved by Bundaberg Regional Council. Photo Contributed

Councillors approved the development seven votes to four

Three bedroom, 1100sqm block: Is this Qld's cheapest home?

BARGAIN BUY: Is this North Bundaberg property the cheapest home in Queensland?

Becoming a real estate mogul is all about risk and reward