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Jonah emboldened and Ferg 'home'


IT’S been a strong day for the NBL, the Adelaide 36ers’ brand and also Australia’s junior basketball programs with first Terrance Ferguson, then Jonah Bolden taken in the NBA Draft today.

Ferguson, 19 and a 201cm guard, was the “one-and-done” kid from high school in the U.S. who chose to play and train with the 36ers while getting extra work into his game and body with the Adelaide-based Dream Academy, rather than play college hoops.

It paid off handsomely when the young man born in Oklahoma was selected at 21 by Oklahoma City Thunder, fulfilling the predictions of Sixers’ coach Joey Wright that Ferguson (above) would be selected “mid-to-late in the first round”.

Bolden, 21 and a versatile 208cm two-way forward, was selected at 36 by the 76ers where he would potentially play alongside last year’s No.1 draft pick Ben Simmons and for former North Melbourne Giants, Sydney Kings and Australian Boomers coach Brett Brown.

It’s a pretty nifty landing for the son of former NBL import Bruce, Bolden coming through junior ranks in NSW and representing Australia at the 2013 FIBA Under-19 World Championship in the Czech Republic.

Two years at UCLA and one playing pro in Serbia opened the NBA door for Bolden (above) and today he marched right on through it.

Ferguson’s story has been told and retold so often you don’t need to revisit it again here.

But clearly his success in playing NBL for a year – and earning a slice of history as the league’s youngest ever import at 18 – opens the door for similar “one-and-done” style tyros and also has done the reputations of the league and the 36ers considerable good.

The high volume of NBA scouts who toured “Down Under” to watch and evaluate his progress at the very least opened the Summer League doors for several of his teammates and others around the league.

Even the sport’s No.1 player, LeBron James, tweeted his encouragement (below), Ferguson making friends by the thousands in Adelaide for not only his on-court exploits but for his personality, demeanour and disposition.

“I loved the team, the city, the coaches,” Ferguson said on numerous occasions. And Adelaide loved him right back, adopting him as a favourite son and now owning a stake in his future at OKC.

Sadly some of the Australian press coverage today left a little to be desired but have a squiz anyway for a giggle and a bit of a head shake:

...Sigh... OK, try the next one...

 

Ferguson will join New Zealand international Steven Adams and triple-double recordholder Russell Westbrook – not to be confused with “Russell Wilson” – at the Thunder.

Unfortunately Aussie pair Isaac Humphries and Mangok Mathiang did not hear their names called out today but their doors into the NBA remain ajar.

Jun 23

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