Andrew Gaze

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Andrew Gaze
Andrew gaze.JPG
Gaze at a Melbourne Tigers home game in 2011
Sydney Kings
Position Head coach
League NBL
Personal information
Born (1965-07-24) 24 July 1965 (age 51)
Melbourne, Victoria
Nationality Australian
Listed height 201 cm (6 ft 7 in)
Listed weight 95 kg (209 lb)
Career information
College Seton Hall (1988–1989)
Playing career 1984–2005
Position Shooting guard
Number 10
Career history
As player:
1984–2005 Melbourne Tigers
1991–1992 Udine
1994 Washington Bullets
1995 Apollon Patras
1999 San Antonio Spurs
As coach:
2016–present Melbourne Tigers (SEABL)
2016–present Sydney Kings
Career highlights and awards
FIBA Hall of Fame as player

Andrew Barry Casson Gaze, AM (born 24 July 1965) is an Australian former professional basketball player and current head coach of the Sydney Kings of the National Basketball League (NBL). He is considered the greatest player in the history of the NBL, having played every season for the Melbourne Tigers between 1985 and 2005, and winning the league's MVP award on seven occasions. He also guided the Tigers to two NBL championships in 1993 and 1997, and was named an All-NBL first teamer every year between 1986 and 2000, a feat matched by no other player in NBL history.

Gaze led the Australian national team, the Boomers, to five Olympic Games – including as the flag bearer at the opening ceremony of the 2000 Sydney Olympics and the Australian Team Captain. He was inducted into the Basketball Australia Hall of Fame in 2004 and the Sport Australia Hall of Fame in 2005 after becoming a member of the Order of Australia in 2002. In 2013, he joined his father, Lindsay, in the FIBA Hall of Fame to become just the third Australian inductee.[1][2] Two Australian basketball awards have been named in Gaze's honour: the NBL MVP award is the Andrew Gaze Trophy, and the Australian International Player of the Year award is the Gaze Medal.

Professional career[edit]

In 1984, Gaze joined the Melbourne Tigers of the National Basketball League as an 18 year old. His first season with the Tigers saw him win the NBL Rookie of the Year Award after averaging an impressive 29.1 points, 6.7 rebounds, 4.1 assists and 1.6 steals in 24 games.[3] By 1986, he made his first All-NBL First Team selection, as he went on to earn first-team honours in 15 straight seasons (1986–2000).

Following the 1988 NBL season, Gaze moved to the United States to play college basketball for Seton Hall University. During the 1988–89 season, Gaze played in 38 games for the Seton Hall Pirates, averaging 13.6 points, 4.5 rebounds and 2.9 assists per game.[4] After completing his season at Seton Hall with an NCAA Championship Game loss, Gaze returned to Australia and re-joined the Tigers for the 1989 NBL season.[5]

Not known for being an outstanding athlete, Gaze's heavy scoring in the NBL was due to exceptional shooting, including from three-point range. A crowd favourite, Gaze was a frontrunner in the league's resurgence during the 1990s, as he and American import Lanard Copeland combined to form a formidable backcourt and guided the Tigers to two championships in 1993 and 1997.[6] Playing under his father with the Tigers, Gaze assured the club were perpetual finalists.

In addition to playing in the NBL, Gaze spent multiple seasons overseas during the 1990s. In 1991, Gaze became the first Australian to play professionally in Europe, with the Italian club side, Udine. In a six-month stint in Italy, he averaged over 30 points per game.[7] In March 1994, Gaze returned to the United States and signed with the NBA's Washington Bullets. In seven games for the Bullets during the 1993–94 NBA season, he averaged 3.1 points per game. In early 1995, he moved to Greece and played half a season for Apollon Patras.[8] He had another short stint in the NBA during the lockout-shortened 1998–99 season, this time with the San Antonio Spurs. He received very little court time for a stacked Spurs team that included guards Mario Elie, Avery Johnson, Antonio Daniels and Steve Kerr. He appeared in just 19 games for the Spurs during the regular season and was inactive for the entire playoff run which saw the Spurs win their first NBA championship.[9]

In his later years, Gaze still managed to score at a high clip for the Tigers, averaging over 19 points per game in each of his last four NBL seasons. Following the 2004–05 NBL season, Gaze announced his retirement from the NBL. In 20 seasons with the Tigers, he played a total of 612 games and recorded 18,908 points at an average of 30.9 points per game.[3]

National team career[edit]

On the international stage, Gaze forged his reputation as one of Australia's finest products, appearing at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Games as a 19-year-old. In 2000, he became (jointly with American Teresa Edwards) the third basketball player to compete at five Olympics, after Puerto Rican Teófilo Cruz and Brazilian Oscar Schmidt. That year, Gaze was the flag bearer at the opening ceremony of the Sydney Olympics, and was the Australian Team Captain. At the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, he led the Boomers to their best Olympic performance, a fourth-placed finish with a 5–3 record.[10]

Gaze also competed in four world championships with the Boomers, as he played more than 280 matches for Australia. He is regarded as the second best scorer in international basketball after Oscar Schmidt.[11]

Coaching career[edit]

On 8 December 2015, Gaze was appointed head coach of the Melbourne Tigers SEABL team for the 2016 season.[12][13] Gaze's cousin, Mark,[14] was appointed the Tigers' assistant coach.

On 2 April 2016, Gaze was appointed head coach of the Sydney Kings on a three-year deal, joining a revitalised franchise with a new general manager, a new owner and new home venue.[15]

Off the court[edit]

After retiring from playing professionally, Gaze became a media personality and began commentating NBL games for Network Ten and Fox Sports. He is also a presenter on Channel Seven's Guide to the Good Life and on After the Bounce on Fox Footy. In 2006, he appeared in season five of Dancing with the Stars.[16]

In March 2016, Gaze became an ambassador for the non-for-profit organisation The Beehive Foundation, a charity that runs free programs to develop resilience and coping mechanisms for youth via junior sporting organisations.[17][18]

Records, honours and awards[edit]

Honour roll[edit]

NBL career: 1984–2005
NBL Championships: 2 (1993, 1997)
NBL Grand Final appearances: 4 (1992, 1993, 1996, 1997)
NBL Most Valuable Player: 7 (1991, 1992, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998)
All-NBL First Team: 15 (1986–2000)
NBL Rookie of the Year: 1984
NBL 20th Anniversary Team: 1998
NBL 25th Anniversary Team: 2003
Gaze Medal: 6 (1990, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1998, 2000)
Australian Basketball Hall of Fame: 2004
Sport Australia Hall of Fame: 2005
FIBA Hall of Fame: 2013

NBL career stats[edit]

Games: 612
Points: 18,908 (30.9 ppg)
Rebounds: 5.1 rpg
Assists: 5.8 apg
Steals: 1.8 spg
Blocks: 0.4 bpg
Field Goals: 6,484 / 12,529 (51.8%)
3-Pointers: 1,826 / 5,005 (36.5%)
Free Throws: 4,114 / 4,783 (86.0%)

References[edit]

External links[edit]