Basketballer Patty Mills will don the green and gold of Australia at the Rio de Janeiro Games but gained inspiration for his third Olympics in the red dust of his country’s vast, empty heartland.
The first indigenous Australian to win an NBA title, the San Antonio Spurs point guard will hope to blaze a new trail in Rio by becoming the first to win an Olympic medal in the sport.
But for 27-year-old Mills, a recent trip out to Uluru, the massive red rock that rises improbably out of the central Australian desert, was all about the team.
Mills took the Olympic squad on a tour of the rock which is sacred to local Aboriginals and was the first Australian stop of the torch relay for the 2000 Sydney Games.
“There’s no question that the goal (of a medal) that we’ve set for ourselves is one that will take a lot of hard work but it’s one that we really all believe that we can get done. But for us to get there we need to beat great teams and that’s what the Olympics is about, achieving greatness by beating great teams.” – Patrick Mills
Former Saint Mary’s baseball player Kyle Jensen has been taking care of business all summer long with his bat, but Sunday he was part of an important and historic defensive play for the Triple-A Reno Aces. Jensen, playing first base, made the final out of the Aces’ first-ever triple play in a 7-4 win at the Las Vegas 51s.
Reno escaped a jam against Las Vegas with runners on first and second and no outs in the seventh inning and a tie game. The runners took off on the pitch, and Las Vegas batter Kevin Plawecki lined out to third, starting a 5-4-3 triple play that ended with Jensen.
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Former Saint Mary’s baseball player Nate Nolan finally broke onto the season at the full season Single-A level Thursday when he hit a home run for his first hit at that level of the minor leagues. After getting promoted to the Single-A Kannapolis Intimidators on July 14, Nolan had gone a combined 0 for 8 through his first week. But Nolan broke that streak Thursday in the third inning to tie the game at 1-1 with a solo home run to straightaway center field.
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A quick look at the statistics leaders in Australia’s SEABL professional basketball league might look a little familiar to Saint Mary’s hoops fans. Here are the stats of a few key performers.
- Garrett Jackson (NW Thunder) ranks 4th in scoring (23.1 ppg), is 10th in rebounding (8.3 rpg) and shoots .543 from the field in his 19 appearances.
- Ben Allen (Canberra) leads the league in rebounding with an average of 10.9 per game. He also average 17.2 points in 18 games.
- Desmond Simmons (Mount Gambier) is 3rd in the SEABL in rebounding (9.6 rpg) in 18 games and is scoring 13 points per game.
- Rob Jones (Frankston) is averaging 12.8 points and 6.4 rebounds per game in 14 appearances.
- Lucas Walker (Dandenong) averages 16.4 points on .511 shooting and is grabbing 6.4 rebounds per game.
- Incoming freshman Jock Perry (Melbourne) played 10 games and posted an average 10.4 points and 8.9 rebounds (8th in league) per game.
The Saint Mary’s athletic marketing office launched an initiative recently to engage more than 400 local businesses to become involved with the nationally ranked Gaels men’s basketball program.
The plan includes a variety of opportunities for businesses to become involved with Gaels athletics, starting with a special ticket offer for the upcoming season (Promo Code: SUMMERZIP).
The athletic department is also expected to announce soon an enhanced corporate partnership program that will encourage businesses, corporations and media agencies to engage in marketing activities in association with each of SMC’s 17 intercollegiate athletics programs.
Former Saint Mary’s guard Kerry Carter is turning some heads with his recent performances in the Drew League, a pro-am league established in 1973 by Alvin Willis.
Carter plays for a team called “Redemption,” which is currently a perfect 7-0 and leads the Stanley Dill Division by one game over Hank’s Houdini’s All-Stars. The West Covina native nearly registered a triple-double with 29 points, 8 rebounds, 9 assists and 4 steals in a narrow victory over New Image.
He has also been showing off his trademark high-flying leaping ability, on display on this video posted on YouTube during the league’s third week of the season.
Former Saint Mary’s guards Matthew Dellavedova and Patrick Mills will lead the rest of their Australian National Team mates in a trip to South America for pre-Olympic warm up games this month.
The helloworld Boomers will head to South America for a series of potentially six games with three of which are still to be determined.
The team will travel to Buenos Aires to face Lithuania on July 25 before facing host Argentina on July 26. The Boomers’s third game will be against Brazil in Sao Paulo on July 28. The final three games will potentially be played on July 30, July 31 and August 3 in Rio.
“Any team at the Olympics will give us a tough game,” Dellavedova recently told The Age. “We will get tested early and it will give us a good idea of where we are at early on but that’s how you want it. Having good quality lead-up games will help us and we have to be ready to go from the start.”
Basketball Australia will provide updates on LiveStats and results throughout the tour.
Helloworld Boomers vs Lithuania – Monday 25 July, Buenos Aires
Helloworld Boomers vs Argentina – Tuesday 26 July, Buenos Aires
Helloworld Boomers vs Brazil – Thursday 28 July, Sao Paulo