Aaron Fearne-"It was great to see him get back on the court and to finally play in his first NBA game. Was a special moment for many people he in the USA and in Australia. He has had a few different coaches over the years that have put a lot of work into him and it was great to see him realize his dream. How he needs to continue to learn, get in great shape and grab every opportunity he gets and run with it."
It was a great moment for myself personally as well. I have really become invested in Nathan and his story. There was a lot of talk that first game back for Nathan would be in the NBDL and not the NBA. If not for an injury to Kris Humphries it was expected he was going to be sent to the Raptors D-League affiliate the Idaho Stampede. However now add an injury to Bosh it seems Nathan will be remaining with the Raptors at least in the short term. I wondered what Aaron's thoughts were if Nathan were to spend some time in the D-League.
Aaron Fearne-"He is just happy to get back on the court after a long laid off. Getting into shape is the first step then working to get onto the court is the next step. Doing the D-league thing will be a Raptors decision of course but a number of the other NBA teams have sent their younger players to the NBDL so I guess it could happen but who knows. If it comes to that it will be another great learning experience for Nathan and without a doubt a chance to get some good court time."
Obviously it has been a long lay off that Nathan faced do to his heart concerns. I asked Aaron where he felt Jawai was at in comparison to where he was just prior to training camp when the news came that forced Nathan to be shut down from basketball and training.
Aaron Fearne-"Nate got himself into great shape leading up to the draft and was without a doubt in the best shape of his life. Of course with the lay off, he has some work to do to get back to where he was but he has been working hard to get there but it will just take some time."
The Raptors given the way the season has gone have the time to wait for Nathan to develop. He may actually benefit from the team's lack of success and get more chances to play. However in Australia I would imagine they were excited and wanting to see Nathan get out on the floor and play. It has obviously been a much different season for him then anyone could have expected. So I asked Aaron what re-action had been like back home. Aaron is here in North America with Nathan. However still keeps tabs on things back home I am guessing. So here is what he had to say about the reaction in Australia.
Aaron Fearne-"Disappointed to see that he was not going to be able to hit the court with the team on day one of training camp and then there was the lengthy wait. Now that he has finally hit the floor Australia and many people elsewhere will be following him with interest."
What about going forward with his heart issues will it be something that is a concern through out the big Aussie's career?
Aaron Fearne-" He just needs to look after himself as we all do "
Jawai is not the only Aussie making basketball news. Pat Mills is a friend of Nathan's and had been tearing it up in the NCAA for St.Mary's. A broken hand in 2 places has taken him out of the line-up for St. Mary's. He was getting a lot of attention as was the team. They seemed a lock to make it into March Maddness. Now that maybe be a question mark but the talent of Mills is not. Maybe even good enough to consider jumping into the NBA draft. I asked Aaron if he thought Mills is ready for that jump.
Aaron Fearne-" He can play in the NBA for sure. He has great quickness and speed, gets up and works the ball in defense and is really starting to shoot the ball well from deep. He proved he can play at the next level after his performance at the Olympics."
I asked if both he and Nathan have been able to keep tabs on him this season while he has been impressing at St. Mary's
Aaron Fearne-" We both follow how a number of Australians are playing over here. Australia is starting to develop a number of very good players and over the next few years you will see a few more Aussies playing in the NBA St. Marys recruits Australia well and for a number of our kids over there the WCC conference is a very good level for them "
Pat Mills could be the next star for Aussies to cheer in the NBA. They will continue to follow the progress of Nathan and given the way things has shaken out for the Raptors it seems Nathan maybe be staying up with the Raptors for near future at least. He is under contract for next season so no one is in a hurry to rush his development at this point. Aaron was in the U.S checking in on another Aussie talent over here in North America and it was great of him to check in with us at the Dino Nation Blog. If Bosh is unable to go tomorrow vs. New Orleans we may get to see Nathan get some time with Raptors short handed. We will see.