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Tuesday, August 5th, 2008 at 10:06 am  |  48 responses

Going For (Draft) Gold

Patrick Mills could be tearing up the League soon.

by Jeff Fox

The Olympic Games are the playground for the young and gifted.  Gymnasts normally aren’t old enough to drive a car.  Swimmers need to be ID’ed to get into PG-13 movies.  Once you’re old enough to legally drink you are pretty much over the hill in the world of the Olympics.  One event where this isn’t the case is the Olympic basketball championships, where the rosters are saturated with veteran, professional players.  For NBA draft fans (and NBA scouts) this is unfortunate, as the pool of potential NBA draft picks participating in the event are quite limited.  However, there are five guys on rosters in Beijing who are on NBA GMs’ radar.

Ricky Rubio, Spain

The cream of the crop of the almost half dozen pro prospects in Beijing is far and away Ricky Rubio.  This is a rare opportunity for North American basketball fans to see potentially the top (and definitely the most exciting) prospect in the 2009 draft go up against the world’s best.  The true testament to the 17-year-old’s skill level, even more so than the gazillion YouTube highlight clips of him, is the fact that even with Spain’s veteran, star-studded backcourt (Jose Calderon, Rudy Fernandez, Juan-Carlos Navarro), Rubio seems to have played himself into a position to get meaningful minutes in the Olympics.

Joe Ingles & Patrick Mills, Australia

After Rubio, the most familiar name on this list is Australia’s Patrick Mills.  Mills, who’ll be a sophomore at Saint Mary’s this fall, was expected to be the Boomers’ point guard of the future, but apparently the future is now.  While he won’t start in Beijing, he will be counted on to provide quality minutes off the bench.  As for his draft stock, despite lacking NBA size and explosiveness, he is still projected to get snatched up whatever year he enters the draft.

Mills isn’t the only draft prospect on the Boomers’ Olympic team.  Joe Ingles, a 6’8” slashing, left-handed wing player, is projected to go in the second round of next June’s draft.  Ingles, who plays pro ball back home in Australia’s National Basketball League, probably won’t see many minutes in China with older, more experienced wing players ahead of him in Australia’s rotation.

Jianghua Chen, China

He’s been called the Chinese Allen Iverson, and from watching video clips of Jianghua Chen’s game it is quite obvious he has studied the American Allen Iverson’s moves.  His slashes to the hoop, flashy passes and three-point bombs are pure AI.  Unfortunately he can be inconsistent and out of control at times, causing him to currently be a borderline NBA prospect.  He probably won’t be playing a large role for the home side in Beijing.

Tim Ohlbrecht, Germany

Projected as a second round pick in 2010, Tim Ohlbrecht is a 6’11” post player who plies his trade professionally for Brose Baskets in Bamberg, Germany.  The highly touted 19-year-old doesn’t play big minutes for Bamberg and probably won’t play a lot in Beijing either, with the likes of Dirk Nowitzki and Chris Kaman manning the paint ahead of him.

Jeff Fox writes more extensively about the NBA draft and college basketball at www.collegehoopsnet.com.  All hate mail can be directed to him at foxyjj@sympatico.ca.

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  • http://www.alllooksame.com Tarzan Cooper

    pat mills is good

  • http://shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com/ TADOne

    Is this the same Mills ya’ll have been calling “Patty”?

  • Tuomas

    Wow, nice to get an instant read on Mills right after he’s done torching the US. You guys deliver.

  • h-wag

    Ohlbrecht looked great in the earlier German exhibition games this summer, but since Kaman´s here he only got some garbage time in the games.
    But he should play a bigger role in Bamberg next season because the team doesn´t look so stacked than last years team yet.
    Another good thing is that he always looked way better in the play-offs than in the regular season here in Germany, his first season ending with the championship and him playing big minutes because of injury and this year being one of only few players to show up in the play-offs at all.
    But he has to take the next step very soon if he wants to have a chance to go to the NBA or even bigger European leagues.

  • http://hibachi20.blogspot.com DP aka D.Polo

    P. Millie is just so ill.not sick.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Cub Buenning

    TAD, the very same.

    He is going to go off this season for St. Mary’s. Kinda like he did his freshmen season, but the Olympic spotlight is sure to attract some more West Coast Conference viewership.

  • http://shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com/ TADOne

    I couldn’t watch the game, but from following the convo, he appeared to be crossing up cats and filling it up.

  • http://sdfjkl.com Jukai

    So, no one’s sticking to a mindset that he has had one or two good games and he’ll go back to fumbling at St Mary’s?

  • tike

    Im with Jukai i like mills but i aint drinking his cool-aid just yet my friend…he plays at St.Marys not even the best team in there own conference…but with that said i do like his skills a little under sized but not a bad player

  • http://www.slamonline.com Cub Buenning

    Jukai, 15 ppg/3.5a/2stls for a tourney at large team is fumbling? He played 32 mins and started all 32 games, while lighting up several quality teams/players. Not sure your location, dude, but try to check out some WCC ball this year. Its not really mid-major-type stuff.

    TAD, he was pretty good today. Awesome for the majority of the viewing public that got their first taste. He also wasn’t great in their tourney loss to Miami, but he is always a threat on offense and has a great long wing span on defense.

  • http://www.alllooksame.com Tarzan Cooper

    jukai, do you wake up every morning and decide to be a hater or is it just something that comes naturally?

  • Tuomas

    I don’t know if Mills is the next great point guard or next great anything, I just thought he played a good game and appreciated the piece. Not much more to it on my part.

  • http://shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com/ TADOne

    They have usually only shown Gonzaga games here on the East coast, but hopefully they will give St. Mary’s some love this year.

  • The Promise

    The kid is quick as a cat…

  • http://sdfjkl.com Jukai

    I put my pants on the same way as you do, Tarzan. Afterwards though, I throw darts at the pictures of all those I’m going to go after that day. In fairness though, I don’t know much about this guy. He’s not highly tooted on any other draft site, so I was wondering if SLAM is just jumping on this kid cause of this game.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Cub Buenning

    Jukai, do you read the magazine we put out?

  • http://sdfjkl.com Jukai

    THERE’S A MAGAZINE?!?!

  • http://collegehoopsnet.com Jeff Fox

    I wrote the article before the game today – in fact I haven’t even seen the game yet – so the story is not just a knee-jerk reaction to Mills play against the U.S.

  • Joey

    when i lived in canberra mills was watchin his former team play against us pretty cool, said hey to me after the game only knows me as goggles tho

  • The Ghost of Wilt Chamberlain

    I used to play against Pat Mills before he went to the States. He was alright, but not even a standout in the league we played in. I guess the coaches in the US are superior to their “down-under” counterparts. Wish him all the best!

  • http://www.slamonline.com Cub Buenning

    His coach at St Marys (Randy Bennett) spoke at length and at every opportunity about the kid’s positive confidence.

    He will benefit from more schooling and the all important weightroom/cafeteria.

  • Aussieman

    Mills not explosive? Come on Jeff, you need to change that comment. He torched D Wade, CP3 and any other overpaid self absorbed US NBA Pro out there today…and he’s only 19.
    The NBA scouts should sign up Barlow also,is 6ft 9 and can fill it!!!

  • Flava

    Joey, or should I say Goggles???
    That’s amazing that patty mills knows you.
    I am impressed.
    Anyone else?

  • AL

    Mills is nice. Period.
    The article in the Ish 121 was right on the $.
    But it’s Canberra not Canaberra SLAM. Come on.
    Watch this kid shine.

  • Andrew

    Flava – basketball in Australia is the fourth or fifth most popular sport behind Aussie rules football, two codes of Rugby, soccer and cricket… whilst it is highly participated in, getting 4,000 people to a game in Melbourne is considered a successful night. The Australian pro scene, which filters down through three leagues from the national league, everyone knows everyone, so I’m not surprised that the Ghost knows him or played against him. I worked with a guy who was on Perth’s roster for a year or two, he knows patty pretty well, it’s a pretty incestuous set up out here. Everyone knows everyone, including Bogut, apparently.

  • http://www.ozhiphop.com D.Brown

    Ghost of W.C don’t know what league you played in, but Patty has been consistently lighting cats up @ junior nationals, SEABL, every local comp etc for a while now.

    The kid is the truth, and for Jukai check his stats for St Mary’s game against Illinois at the start of last season. 37 points plus a bunch of steals & assists ain’t enough for you?

  • http://hibachi20.blogspot.com Hursty

    Mills was the best player on the court on a consistent basis last night. Im not being a homer, but consistently he was. Bogut’s stock went way up after playing well against Duncan in the 04′ Olympics. Same thing for Mills too.

  • http://hibachi20.blogspot.com Hursty

    Funny that all the Australian readers are coming out now that someone is shining internationally. Ozzie! Ozzie! Ozzie! Oi! Oi! Oi!

  • CP3!

    Mills, Ingles and Barlow are all sik!

  • Aussieman

    Dont forget Nathan Jawai, would be a handy addition to the cause.

  • LAN

    f*ck u guys forreal mills not explosive? he is more explosive than chris paul ya’ll.. i recon out of all the australians barlow is the best nba prospect tho he is 6,9 can play 1 to 4 nice jump shot (all tho h*ll ugly), athletic and strong… and he used 2 play for sandi… my club yiii boy

  • Question

    I saw Mills throw down some nice dunks as a 17yo playing Aussie juniors – dude is explosive… see Chris Sheridan just called him the quickest player he’s seen since AI in his rookie year… and I’m a kiwi, so it takes a lot for me to stick up for an Australian.

  • tpockets

    patty is not only a world class athlete, 49sec 400m btw, he is the most humble and hard working guy u will see. Please understand that this kid is 19 and this is his first exposure to such a platform. He is a product of the australian institute of sport and understands what is required to succeed as a world class athlete. It’ll only get better from here. Get on board now, this kid is special and his & jawai’s success will lead to more indigenous aussies being ballers. Seriously special, trust me.

  • http://www.stonesthrow.com/ Michael NZ

    Mills is super explosive, end of story. He’ll be in the league in a year or two no doubt… so hopefully that’ll mean less of him torching my New Zealand bball side. I mean, he’s the real deal at 18/19 years old already.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Cub Buenning

    Sorry for the Can(a)berra slip-up, that was my bad.
    DBrown, that game was against Oregon when he dropped 37. Love all the Aussie commenters!!! Do you guys know the Wiggles personally? (Sorry, I have a two-year old who is a freak for ‘em)

  • tai

    one: mills is hella good
    two: no he is not quicker than cp3.
    three: lebron and mills were the most consistent. lebron’s defense and court presence is the team’s mantra, becuz when all else fail defense can keep a team in the game: ala celts, spurs …
    four: it is unnecessary to put down the winning team to highlight mills’ skills. he is good, young but good…hell really good.

  • g

    I can´t wait to see Ricky Rubio against USA

  • Perry1000

    I now Tim Ohlbrecht and he is absolutly not NBA-ready. And he is not comparable with Dirk N., he has no 3-Point-Touch und he is not dynamic.
    Before Dirk enters the NBA he was a leading scorer in Germany. Tim has only a vew minutes. He must play in the NCAA, if he wants a chance to play NBA…

  • http://www.nrl.com.au Money Bill Williams

    Whenever I am playing a game my local team the Wollongong Hawks train on the court adjacent. That is the good thing about Aussie bball in that its so accessible. My high school teams were coached by members of the hawks, once including Ge Lenn Saville ( pronounced SAV – ILL frishcilla) who played against USA the other night. In the states i bet you couldnt even get a d league player to coach a team

  • http://www.nrl.com.au Money Bill Williams

    after playing team USA Glenn Saville is now referred to as Ge Lenn Seville

  • http://hibachi20.blogspot.com Hursty

    … ok Money. :)

  • http://hibachi20.blogspot.com Hursty

    Mills is listed at 6 foot, 179 pounds btw.

  • http://www.triplejunearthed.com/dacre Dacre

    patrick mills patrick mill patrick mills….you get the idea…

  • Barack O’Drama

    maaan why is everybody on ricky rubios nuts. i looked at one of his videos 2 see what the big deal is and he didnt even imoress me. 1st of all he isnt even playin againt any good comp. and ive seen dudes in my leauge do the stuff he does…he would get worked in the WCAC best highschool leauge in america

  • http://www.hoopcity.com.au anon

    theres a video on youtube that shows PAT MILLS and the Aussies highlights against team USA chek it out http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U5zfDNT4A8Y

  • angga

    watch out..
    rick rubio is on fire..

  • damola

    i want to

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