Sydney hooper Jonah Bolden is heading for the USA to position himself for possible selection in the upcoming NBA draft, where he hopes to join the ever-increasing contingent of Aussies who earn their living at basketball’s highest level.
Bolden has been playing in the Adriatic League, where he played a key role in team FMP’s semifinal series win over Partizan.
His exploits in that series were seen by a scout for the Boston Celtics, who was present to see Bolden score 16 points in the series finale.
His development has caused Bolden to skip playing in the Adriatic League Finals series. He has signed a two-year deal with Red Star Belgrade and will head to sunny California to prepare for the NBA Draft.
Red Star was already the primary holder of interests in Bolden and his contract with the club has a clause that will free him if he should be selected by an NBA club.
So valuable is Bolden’s stock, that just two weeks out from the June 23 NBA Draft, he is looked on as a potential pick late in the first round or early in the second.
Another Sydney native, Isaac Humphries, has been working out with NBA teams. The Milwaukee Bucks and the Denver Nuggets are two teams interested in the seven-footer and he has also visited the Washington Wizards and the Detroit Pistons. Humphries played collegiately at Kentucky, a school with a historied reputation for turning out productive NBA players.
Melbourne was not left out of the picture, either. Mangok Mathiang has been examined by the Charlotte Hornets, not drawing the interest received by Humphries and Bolden, but he seems to have the physique and mind-set that translates well to the NBA, even if he does have to begin in a junior league or find another team interested in his services.