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Australia proves fertile talent pool for NBA

If you ask Australian youngsters who their favorite basketball player is, US superstars such as LeBron James or Kevin Durant are likely responses, with the mere mention of the NBA creating a buzz.

But home-grown talent Ben Simmons (Philadelphia 76ers), Patty Mills (San Antonio Spurs), Dante Exum (Utah Jazz) and South Sudanese refugee Thon Maker (Milwaukee Bucks) have swelled Aussie numbers in the world’s top league and heightened the hopes of young Australians playing the game.

(FILES) This file picture taken on August 21, 2016 shows Australia’s Matthew Dellavedova (2nd L) going to the basket during their men’s bronze medal basketball game against Spain during the Rio 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. AFP PHOTO / Andrej ISAKOVIC / TO GO WITH Basket-AUS-USA-NBA, FOCUS by Daniel DE CARTERET
“It definitely gives you something to aim for, knowing that they have started where you started and they made it all the way to the top,” Austin Bradtke told AFP after a narrow win at a recent basketball carnival in suburban Melbourne.

“Experiencing American basketball, and also the crowds and stuff, it looks really enticing for a young player, that is where I am keen to go,” added the 17-year-old, whose father Mark was among the earliest Australians to play in the NBA.

Once a far-flung dream for young hopefuls, technology is giving scouts greater access to international talent, while an elite junior program is putting promising Australians at the forefront of the game, with courts Down Under proving fertile ground for US recruiters.

Associated Press
Full Article: http://sports.inquirer.net/263046/263046

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