In the collegiate basketball world, every decade or two, the earth moves, the sea parts and the stars align to produce a true luminary. So is the case with Andrew Bogut.
The Australian center has lit up the hardwood for two years at the University of Utah leading the team to another showdown with Kentucky in the Sweet Sixteen. To get to Kentucky the Utes had to defeat Oklahoma, which they did. But during the game the announcer claimed Bogut was having a bad game… the result was 10 points, 11 rebounds, 7 assists and 2 blocked shots. Not bad as I see it. Bogut is a rarity indeed. His rare form includes an inside-outside shot combination, superb ball handling and defensive skills, excellent self discipline, a tough work ethic, a broad vision of the court, he is a rebounding juggernaut and he is extremely coachable.
It is no surprise he announced yesterday he was going pro. Andrew could have played professional basketball two years earlier. Instead, he came to Utah as promised. More offers came after his freshman year and again he remained true to the Utes. Each year he grew stronger, each year he grew more mature, each year the hardwood seasoned. Now, and only now, he feels he’s ready.
Bogut announced Monday he’s skipping his final two seasons at Utah and making himself eligible for the NBA draft. The 7-foot Australian center is expected to be a lottery pick and quite possibly be the first player chosen overall in the draft. He may even end up right here in Utah. The Jazz have the fourth-worst record in the NBA right now and they have accumulated a lot of ping pong balls. You just never know. Bogut could remain in Utah. Stranger things have happened.
The Runnin’ Utes’ season ended with another loss to Kentucky in the regional semifinal of the tournament, but Bogut’s career will forever continue on. He was the leading vote-getter on the AP All-America team, averaging 20.4 points and 12.2 rebounds a game while leading the Utes to a 29-6 season. In the NCAA tournament, he was a man among boys, Kentucky had to double- and triple-team him to stop him.
Even then, after he was “stopped,” he had 20 points, 12 rebounds and a steal.
Andrew Bogut…thanks for the memories! Thanks for coming back to Utah. Thanks for the last two seasons. Thanks for your rare display of skills, integrity, professionalism and class. You will be missed, but you will not be forgotten. And for certain all your fans will be watching you, as all Stars are. Only this one shines brightly in the heavens above Utah, and it has Andrew Bogut’s name on it. We’ll see you in the NBA.