New Zealand native on Australian draft prospects
Down Under the 2005 Draft
SAN ANTONIO, Texas, June 11 -- During San Antonioís quest for a third NBA Championship in seven years, Sean Marks has the best seat in the house. But since he was left off the Spurs playoff roster, Marks had a few spare moments to talk about something other than the Finals, namely the 2005 NBA Draft.
Marks became the first New Zealand native to play in the NBA after being drafted in the second round, 44th overall, by the Knicks and promptly traded to the Toronto Raptors. In just over two weeks, Marks could be joined by two more players from Down Under as Austrailian centers Andrew Bogut and Luke Schenscher await Commissioner Stern or Deputy Commissioner Granik calling their names.
Bogut is considered by most Draft experts to be one of the top two picks in this yearís draft class, while Schenscher has been trying to work his way into second-round consideration at the NBA's Pre-Draft Camp in Chicago after spending four seasons at Georgia Tech.
Marks talked to NBA.com after Saturday's team practice about Bogut, Schenscher and the NBA Draft:
Marks: I read a couple things on the internet a couple weeks ago about something like this coming out. Itís unfortunate something comes out at this time, but that whatís the whole draft process is about. Teams do thorough background checks on your physical being as well as mentally and your background as a person. Teams will do a thorough check on him and I hope things pan out for him. Heís a great kid. He seems to come from a great family. I had the opportunity to play against him in Greece on the Australian team and he has huge upside.
Whatís like playing against him?
Marks: Itís tough. Heís a big guy. Heís big. Heís long and he moves for a big guy. Heís not a lumbering seven-footer sort of thing. Heís got a nice touch, knows the game and heís a young kid so as I said the upside is huge. [He has] good passing, good fundamentals. He knows the game.
Do you think heíll be the top overall pick in this yearís draft?
Marks: You know, hey, thatís not for me to even say. Those teams will probably draft according to their personnel needs, who they need out there. Some teams just take the best player on the board. Andrewís definitely [No.] 1 or 2. So, hopefully he goes wherever he wants to go, wherever he can have a great career, wherever it is in the NBA.
Bogut has played internationally, at the college level here in the U.S., and now looks to play in the NBA. What skills do you think heíll need to work on to make the transition to the NBA?
Marks: I probably think the big thing is maybe some of the physical nature of banging down there day-in and day-out with some of the big guys Ė Shaquille [OíNeal] and guys like that. But also just the grueling 82-game season; thatís something all rookies have to get used to. Heíll be no exception to that. When youíre used to playing a 30-game college season with five international tests in the offseason, that doesnít even come close to 82 games, back-to-backs and all that kind of stuff. Then youíve got playoffs. Itís a whole new ballgame there. As most rookies do, they hit the wall and then bounce back and from then on, itís good.
How much do you know about Luke Schenscher?
Marks: A little bit just from watching him, but nothing really. Iíve seen him in college and he looks good. Heís a long guy and heís come some nice outside touch.
Do you think the fact Schenscher stands seven feet tall is cause enough for a team to burn a second-round pick on him?
Marks: Oh, absolutely. Thereís a limit to how many seven-footers there are running around the place. Guys who can get up and down the floor, who can show some athleticism: absolutely thereís a spot for a guy like that. The more guys from Down Under in the league, the better. Itís an international game now.
What are your thoughts on how many international players are making it in the NBA?
Marks: Itís great. The game of basketball has always been an international game, but itís really just caught on. I donít know what it is Ė 80 or 90 international guys in the NBA? Itís incredible and itís only done great things for the sport. I go back home to New Zealand and now thereís games on TV all the time. Whereas when I first came over to the states, they didnít show NBA games; they showed highlights for half an hour, once a week sort of thing. It just shows how much it has changed and now [the NBA is] in with China, with Yao Ming, and obviously Europeís huge and always has been into basketball but arguably the top players in Europe are playing here. Itís great, youíve got a worldwide league kind of going.
Talk about worldwide, the Spurs have players from all over the globe.
Marks: Well, yeah, perfect example. I think we have six guys and I want to say last year we had eight international guys on the team. So, itís great. It adds a nice little team dynamic to whatís going on. Itís fun because we play against each other in the offseason so often and now, to come back, we can share stories and that kind of stuff Ė and weíre on the same team. So, itís great. Itís fantastic.
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