Gaze senior rates NBL talent best ever

Lindsay Gaze pictured during his induction into basketball's Hall of Fame in 2015.
Lindsay Gaze pictured during his induction into basketball's Hall of Fame in 2015.

Australian basketball's senior statesmen Lindsay Gaze rates the talent pool of the NBL the best he's seen.

A former coach of the Australian men's team and a dual NBL title-winning coach of the Melbourne Tigers, octogenarian Gaze is one of the most respected figures in local basketball, having served as either a player, coach or administrator for over six decades.

He's seen the NBL develop from it's inception in 1979 through it's boom period of the late 1980s and 1990s and a decline in the early part of this century.

The league has regained lustre in recent times with officials declaring the NBL is enjoying a golden era.

Gaze rejects the use of the word resurgence, arguing the NBL has "never gone away."

With former NBA No.1 draft pick Andrew Bogut and other ex NBA players like American guards Casper Ware and Bryce Cotton starring this season, Gaze said the standard of the NBL had risen incredibly.

"Last year was the best talent I've ever seen and it's gone up another notch," Gaze told AAP.

"There's some great talent playing in the league at present.

"In those days (in the past) a good college player would be an automatic impact player in Australia, but now unless you're on the NBA level then it's unlikely that you're going to be an impact player."

Gaze takes issue with the assertion of some pundits that have labelled the Sydney Kings side coached by his son Andrew as arguably the most talented NBL team ever assembled.

"I think that's very very unwise to try to do that," Gaze said.

"Because the league is so tough that you only have to be just a little bit off in your form, or have an injury and the chances of winning are reduced dramatically."

He remains in regular contact with Andrew, who has missed out on the finals in his first two seasons as Kings coach, but has them in the top four at present with a 4-3 record.

"We talk a lot on the phone and when they come down here we get together," Gaze said.

"It's interesting to see how he's handling the pressure of NBL coaching, but he's got a good team and they are responding well.

"The most important thing I say to Andrew, is whatever happens, have fun, enjoy the challenge and don't be too concerned about the win-loss record."

Gaze believes the essence of basketball at grass roots level has been captured in a book he launched in Melbourne on Wednesday titled Not Bad Thanks, after a local team that has experienced plenty of ups and downs through 70 seasons of competition.

Australian Associated Press