NBA draft preview: Centers

Dan Wetzel
Yahoo! Sports

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He has size – 7-foot-1, 245 pounds.

He has skill – light feet, nice touch around the rim.

He has the numbers – 20.4 points, 12.2 rebounds and a trophy case full of national player of the year awards captured during his sophomore year at the University of Utah.

Andrew Bogut is a total-package kind of guy who's expected to go first overall to the Milwaukee Bucks in the 2005 NBA draft.

And to boot, the Melbourne, Australia native even has a sense of humor.

"It was tough practicing [basketball] for me as a kid between wrestling crocodiles and chasing kangaroos," Bogut said.

Don't let the Crocodile Dundee bit fool you. This is a polished, young player with a decidedly American mean streak to his game. Bogut may be a foreign player, but he isn't a big man who wants to just hang out beyond the three-point arc and shoot jumpers.

Mixing it up is his idea of a good time – he had 26 double-doubles last season in leading the Utes to a 29-6 record and a Sweet 16 appearance.

He averaged 14.8 points and 8.8 rebounds in five games for the Australian national team at the Athens Olympics, where the competition was grown men often bigger, stronger and more experienced.

But the 20-year-old realizes that even with his seasoning, banging on the blocks in the NBA is a different beast. He vows not to be content with just being the No. 1 pick.

"I have to get ready, get stronger for the physical play that I'll see there," Bogut said. "I don't have any plan, like being an All-Star in three years or anything like that. I know I want to get better and I'll show people how hungry I am for that."

The only question on Bogut is his eyesight. Former Utah coach Rick Majerus, who recruited Bogut to Salt Lake City, reportedly told some NBA executives that the big guy has a degenerative eye disease. Bogut scoffed at that.

"If every person who wears a contact lens in the United States has a degenerative eye disorder, I think you'd have a lot of sick people," Bogut said. "I'm not going to go blind in two years, mate."

So he's a good quote, too. Mate.


1. Andrew Bogut, 7-1, Utah, sophomore.

2. Channing Frye, 7-0, Arizona, senior – The long-armed shot blocker can run the court well. Mature and polished.

3. Johan Petro, 7-0, France – Already 260 pounds, this 19-year-old could get huge. Scouts say he needs better foot work.

4. Andray Blatche, 6-11, South Kent (Conn.) High School – He has a tremendous face-up game, but he needs to get more comfortable on the blocks.

5. Martynas Andriuskevicius, 7-3, Lithuania – Scouts rave about the 18-year-old's upside, but his stock has dropped this spring.

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