And they say nothing interesting happens in Canberra……. Today was Day 1 of the Boomers’ second training camp at the AIS in preparation for next week’s Oceania world championship qualifying series against New Zealand, and I was lucky enough to be amongst the throng (kidding – considering the shit storm that erupted over the closed session the first time around, I was disappointed with the media turnout – around 10 people).

We were able to view the last half hour of the training session and then were given access to coach Lemanis, Patty Mills, Joe Ingles, Matthew Dellavedova and Aron Baynes.

I managed to sneak a few questions in:

Your experience with the Spurs, does that give you a lot of confidence coming into this camp?
Baynes: Yeah definitely, you know, just being around some of the best players of the game and one of the best bigs to ever play the game in Tim Duncan, I am just trying to learn as much as I can from him. So hopefully I’ve learnt a few things that I can bring into this and I am trying to help out here with the Australian team.

Is there one area of your game that has really improved since being with the Spurs?
Baynes: Yeah, just my play down on the post in the paint, you know, that’s where Tim Duncan has earned his living over the last 17 years and being around there for the last few months and trying to learn as much as I can. So I think that’s where I’ve developed a bit and there’s still a lot of room for improvement and I’ll keep working at it.

Were you surprised that you didn’t get drafted?
Dellavedova: My agent was getting pretty good feedback so he thought it was a decent chance, so I was disappointed on draft night but I got a good opportunity in Summer League so that’s all I wanted.

Two other takeaways from today:
1) Many people were shocked by Joe Ingles’ decision to sign with the Israeli club Maccabi Tel Aviv on a two-year deal, when by all reports several NBA teams were interested in his services. But as he revealed today, his reasoning was simple – playing time. He doesn’t want to rot on an NBA bench; he wants to play and improve his game in preparation for the 2014 world championships. But the NBA is still a goal for Joe and he has out clause with Maccabi after one year.
2) I can’t see any way that Ben Simmons does not become a big-time player in the NBA. At 17 years of age, his size (he looks a legit 6-10) and skill level is incredible, and by all accounts he’s a great kid with a tremendous work ethic. And as I saw today, he even has a post game! He’s special, folks, and I can’t wait to watch both Ben and Dante Exum in game action in a couple of days.

I’ll be in attendance for the Boomers tune-up against Butler University on Saturday, so I’ll make some more observations after that game and hopefully have something posted up by Sunday night.

That’s Dante Exum lying on the ground.

Ben Simmons in the all-yellow with his back to us.

Luuuuc!!


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