Sydney Kings - Mark Wells
One wonders where Ben Madgen found the time and the energy to prove he is one of the most exciting new players to make the Australian Boomers squad; but make it he did.
It has been a very busy few months for the Sydney Kings’ outstanding shooting guard and Co-Captain, Ben Madgen.
Fresh from competing in the 2012-2013 NBL Finals and helping the Sydney Kings to a respectable fourth place on the ladder in the regular season, Madgen walked away from the NBL MVP Awards dinner with the trophy for Most Improved Player, a nod for the NBL All-Star First Team, and MVP Runner Up to the New Zealand Breakers’ point guard Cedric Jackson. Add to that his recently announced engagement and Ben has been, well, flat out!
Following on from all of this excitement and activity, Madgen could be forgiven for taking a well-deserved break ahead of the Sydney Kings’ impending new season training regime that Head Coach, Shane Heal, has promised will be the toughest training program faced by any Sydney Kings team to date.
The Sydney Kings media team caught up with Ben to chat about his time at the Boomers selection training camp under new Head Coach, Andej Lemanis.
SK: Congratulations Ben on your inclusion in the new Australian Boomers squad. All your extra hours of hard work, all of those points you scored throughout the 2012-2013 season, and the hours spent one-on-one with the Sydney Kings coaching staff has finally paid off.
Let’s start with that, how did your year training under Sydney Kings’ Head Coach, Shane Heal contribute to your success at the Boomers camp and do you think it helped you to make the squad?
BM: Shane has been a huge influence on my development as a player; and me as a person. I spent five weeks working out every day with Shane before I joined the Boomers camp, which helped immensely. He has great knowledge of the game and I feel very privileged to able to learn from him every day.
SK: This is the second Boomers training camp you have attended in as many years. You didn’t quite make it last year, so how was this camp different than last time?
BM: It felt like I had a larger role to play during this camp. When I went to camp after my rookie year I was very happy to be there and it was definitely a great learning and cultural experience. This time around I really wanted to establish myself as a prominent player and to prove that I am a player that will push for a role in the qualifying series against New Zealand later in the year.
SK: What was your primary motivation during training; and how did it help you during the intense Boomers training schedule to make the squad?
BM: before I even got on the plane in Sydney I was really motivated to make this Boomers team; especially with a lot of the main guys who made the London Olympic Games not here. My thinking was that if I could make a good first impression and play well it would go a long way to helping my chances to play in the qualifying series against New Zealand and, hopefully, the World Championships in 2014.
SK: Well, Ben, you have now trained under two Boomers Head Coaches – Brett Brown last season and now Andrej Lemanis who served as Assistant Coach to Brett Brown during the 2010 FIBA World Championships and 2012 London Olympic Games. How do their coaching styles differ, and do you think you enjoy or respond better to one coaching style over the other?
BM: Both Andrej and Brett are great and very successful peak-level basketball coaches. They are also, without question, very knowledgeable about the game. When you are on the basketball courts training under them, it is very clear that both Andrej and Brett have different systems. Its very exciting and interesting learning from both of them; not just about the game and what is going to be required of us when we are playing at an international-level, but about their philosophies about basketball and the different challenges we are likely to face throughout the game. I have really enjoyed learning from both of them, no two ways about it.
SK: Playing so intensely with a group of players – all at the top of their game – is there anything that stands out about this particular Boomers team that surprised you?
BM: Sure. Of course. First they are all great people who love the sport and love to play basketball. No question. I think this Boomers team has great camaraderie. We all gelled as a team and we got along so well together. I was really impressed that all of us recognised the responsibilities that come with being on the Boomers squad and everyone is very proud and honoured to be representing Australia.
SK: It has been a successful two years for you Ben. It isn’t often you hear about a Rookie of the Year in one season suiting up as an Australian Boomer the next. Without a doubt you have proved yourself a very capable and committed player; which begs the question, what is the next big challenge for Ben Madgen?
BM: Next big challenge? I don't know yet. I’ll do what I always do. It seems to be working just fine. I’ll just take it one day at a time and keep pushing myself to improve and I’ll challenge myself every day. I feel very humbled by the opportunities that have been presented to me this off-season and I want to make the most of them and continue to improve and help the Sydney Kings in season 2013-2014.
You can follow Ben Madgen’s adventure and the fortunes of the Australian Boomers when the team face China in the Sino-Australia Challenge. Game One will be played at Perth Arena on Friday June 7. Game Two will be played at the WA Basketball Centre on Sunday June 9.
Australian Boomers Team for Sino-Australia Challenge
Adam Gibson – 188cm / Guard / 30 Oct 1986 / Adelaide 36ers
Jason Cadee – 186cm / Guard / 15 Apr 1991 / Adelaide 36ers
Ben Madgen – 193cm / Guard / 7 Feb 1985 / Sydney Kings
Chris Goulding – 192cm / Guard / 24 Oct 1988 / Melbourne Tigers
Clint Steindl – 201cm / Guard-Forward / 15 Mar 1989 / Cairns Taipans
Jesse Wagstaff – 203cm / Forward / 30 Apr 1986 / Perth Wildcats
Anthony Petrie – 203cm/ Forward / 3 June 1983 / Adelaide 36ers
Daniel Johnson – 212cm / Forward-Centre / 2 Apr 1988 / Adelaide 36ers
Luke Neville – 218cm / Centre / 19 Feb 1986 / Townsville Crocodiles
Cameron Bairstow – 206cm / Forward / 7 Dec 1990 / University of New Mexico (USA)
Cameron Gliddon – 195cm / Guard / 16 August 1989 / Cairns Taipans
Igor Hadziomerovic – 193cm / Guard / 1 January 1992 / Boise State University (USA)