BASKETBALL: Andrew Gaze has hailed Terrance Ferguson's decision to skip college for a season in Australia a resounding success, saying he will inspire other players in America to follow in his footsteps.
Ferguson has impressed in his maiden NBL season with the Adelaide 36ers straight out of high school, producing powerhouse dunks and classy performances in his 23 games to date.
The 18-year-old shooting guard from Oklahoma now has his sights set on entering the NBA Draft to commence a professional career in the United States.
Gaze has no doubts Ferguson will pave the way for more basketballers to choose Australia and the NBL as a legitimate career path.
"I think Terrance's success will encourage others in America to play in the Australian league,” Gaze said.
"It is something that has worked out great and Adelaide should be complemented for it.
"I think we will all benefit from what the 36ers has been able to do.
"Terrance seems like a terrific young man and hopefully he will go on to bigger and better things and will have fond memories of his time here in Australia.
"Hopefully he will now spread the gospel about the NBL.”
Gaze reserved particular praise for 36ers coach Joey Wright for providing Ferguson with a team-first environment.
"I think Joey has done a fantastic job in the way in which he has managed Terrance,” he said.
"I also give a lot of credit to the kid as well, because he has come into a situation where he is has brought into a system that's clearly not just all about him.
"He hasn't been on his own agenda and he has been playing within Joey's structure and it has been a win-win for everyone.
"It has helped Terrance, the 36ers and the league.”
Ferguson didn't mince his words when explaining why he chose the NBL over playing College basketball.
"The schools make a lot from you. The coaches make a lot from you. But you're really getting nothing from it, just the basketball experience, the college experience.” Ferguson told the New York Times.
"Education is obviously important. But what are you really getting out of it if you only go for one year?”