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SALT LAKE CITY — Andrew Bogut is now in his eighth year in the NBA.
The former University of Utah star describes his time in the NBA as a roller coaster.
"Some good times and some bad times." Bogut says of his time in the NBA. "My fourth, fifth, sixth year I started to feel like I was really excelling and then had a couple of tough circumstances injury wise."
The first major injury he suffered came in the final month of the 2009-10 season. He fell to the floor after dunking a basketball and landed awkwardly on his arm. He suffered a dislocated right elbow and a broken right hand. He was enjoying his best NBA season at that time averaging 16 points, 10 rebounds and led the NBA in blocked shots. He was named All-NBA third team that year despite the injury.
Another devastating injury occurred on January 25, 2012. He suffered an ankle injury that caused him to miss the rest of the season. It turned out that the injury was more serious than originally thought and required microfracture surgery last April. It wasn't until January 28, 2013 that Bogut would return to action.
"Hopefully that's behind me and I can keep going," he says.
Bogut is enjoying a new beginning in the Bay area. After the ankle injury he was traded to the Golden State Warriors. He loves the change, especially the weather which feels more like his native Australia than Milwaukee did. He hopes to be a part of something special with this up-and-coming team led by stars Steph Curry and David Lee. He's just trying to fit in and help the team win.
"Slowly I'll fill that role (as a leader) as the season goes on."
He is eager to get back on the court and fulfill his potential as the No. 1 overall pick in the 2005 NBA Draft. He acknowledges that he has felt the pressure to meet those expectations.
"Obviously at the start of my career," he says. "Once you find your place in the league you've got to live with it."
When healthy he has been a consistent player in the league with the potential to be more. He believes he can still be one of the best big men in the NBA.
"I have a lot more work to do to try and fulfill that," he says.
It has been eight years now since Andrew led the Utes the Sweet 16 in the 2005 NCAA Tournament. He was a Wooden, Naismith and Oscar Robertson award winner and consensus All-American that season, the best player in college basketball. His number hangs from the rafters at the Huntsman Center. He looks back fondly of his days in Utah.
"I was lucky enough to play for Coach Majerus. He was a part of my basketball upbringing, obviously some good times and bad times with him but he was a big part of why I came to Utah," he says. "Then my second year with Coach Giacoletti and taking a team that wasn't even expected to win conference to a Sweet 16 and have a successful year was an unbelievable feeling. I came over here as a very young man, a teenager, still going through puberty and all those fun things and kinda grew into a man and ended up in the NBA."
When he first came, it was a similar situation to the Warriors where, there was a lot of dead weight that he had to weed out. I know he will work hard towards that. Whether it happens or not who knows. I know he comes everyday with a work ethic. He'll demand the best from his players. He'll fight for them if he has to and that's all you can ask right now.
He still closely follows Utah basketball and is aware of the tough times the program has gone through recently.
"Probably not a good time to follow them right now, but it's tough going to a conference like the Pac-12 and have that expectation to keep winning when it's just not reality." he says. "It's very hard to win just not in the college sports, pro sports, it's a small margin of error in the Pac-12. It's a Top 5 conference."
Bogut knows Utah head coach Larry Krystowiak well and believes he's the right guy to turn the program around. Bogut played for him in Milwaukee when Krystowiak was an assistant coach and head coach.
"I think he's done as decent a job as he can," he says. "You have to look at what he's been working with as well, sometimes. When he first came, it was a similar situation to the Warriors where, there was a lot of dead weight that he had to weed out. I know he will work hard towards that. Whether it happens or not who knows. I know he comes everyday with a work ethic. He'll demand the best from his players. He'll fight for them if he has to and that's all you can ask right now. He worked with me pretty well as an assistant and head coach in Milwaukee and I always felt he'd be more suited for the college game. I hope he proves me right."