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MELBOURNE—After defeating an Argentine team featuring Luis Scola and Manu Ginobili on the way to a triumphant gold medal win in 1997, Australian hoops fan Bob O’Rae held high expectations for members of Australia’s 1997 under-23 basketball team. Holding the opinion that the once-promising 1997 Young Men class are perennial underachievers, O’Rae has launched another scathing attack after hearing the news of Chris Anstey and Sam Mackinnon’s retirement from the game.

“So disappointing,” O’Rae wrote on his blog. “Will any of them ever reach their potential?”

“Even this shock retirement announcement lacked the impact that it had the potential to achieve. So much wasted potential, yet again.”

“Now the only potential they have is the potential to join Trahair in the Centrelink queue.”

Typical of a significant proportion of Australian basketball fans, O’Rae continues to maintain high expectations of successful junior athletes through to their professional careers, usually referencing their 'potential' when appraising their career performance.

Despite Anstey spending three seasons in the NBA, dominating European competitions and the local NBL league, O’Rae still regards Anstey’s announcement as “one of a string of underachievements”. O'Rae wrote, “Anstey was a 7-footer who ran like an emu. Why didn't he become a superstar?”

Likewise, Mackinnon’s career hasn’t met his lofty expectations, in spite of Mackinnon claiming an NBL MVP and adding a reliable jumpshot to his repertoire later in his career.

“As a junior, Mackinnon was a prototype NBA 2-man... except for the lack of jumpshot.”

“We should be world powers by now. Back in 1997 we had the greatest depth in the sport behind the US.”

“Trahair should be currently using his slick skills to carve up a successful NBA career; Dwight should be an NBA league-leader in blocks; Mackinnon and Anstey should be successful NBA veterans; and Nielsen should be playing NBA ball on the side of his successful rock music career.”

Having initially slipped his mind after completely falling off the radar, O’Rae later added, “Drmic’s status should have already been promoted from the ‘next Andrew Gaze’ to the ‘current Andrew Gaze’.”

“Now where are they? In the 'Where are they now?' thread on Ozhoops Boards?”

Despite these disappointments, O’Rae holds high hopes for members of the Gold medal winning 2003 Junior Men class. “I admit Bruce and Markovic may have contracted the underachievement bug, but I expect Newls and Boges to lead the Boomers to a medal this year. Anything less is simply not good enough.”

It is expected that O'Rae will have plenty of further criticism to add to his blog in September when the World Championships are held in Turkey.
 


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