The list of benefits and unique life experiences on the horizon during his pending trip to Australia is a long one for Wesley Gordon.
As part of the Pac-12 Conference All-Star team, the University of Colorado’s senior forward will have an opportunity to compete against elite international competition while playing alongside the best of the best among his peers around the league.
Gordon will get to immerse himself in a foreign culture and, with the Olympics around the corner, he will have a chance to make an impression to the sort of international scouts who could help Gordon land a job after his senior season.
Yet for CU head coach Tad Boyle, the best part of Gordon’s upcoming series of Australian exhibitions with the league all-stars is the fact he will receive an intense two-week tutorial from Mike Montgomery.
A winner of 677 games at the collegiate level who will be inducted into the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame this fall, Montgomery enjoyed his biggest moments while leading Pac-12 programs at Stanford and Cal. Now he is being tasked with leading the all-stars Down Under.
“He’s going to be coached by a Hall of Fame coach in Mike Montgomery,” Boyle said. “Not only is he a terrific coach but I consider him a good friend. I think Wesley can benefit from his knowledge and experience in the game. Maybe he can give him some pointers he can use going into his senior year. He’ll play with and against great players, and that’s always how you get better.”
The team is scheduled to meet in Los Angeles on July 5 for a three-day training session before flying to Melbourne. The All-Stars play their first game on July 10 against a squad from the semi-professional South East Australian Basketball League before facing the Australian Boomers on July 12 and 14.
That squad will be comprised by a large portion of the roster Australia will take to the Rio Olympics the following month.
“It means a lot to have people recognize all my hard work,” Gordon said. “I get to compare myself basically to the pros. It will be a good test for me for sure. At this point, every opportunity I get is an opportunity to show what I have. I’m going to make the most of it.”
The added benefit of taking this sort of trip during an Olympic year for Gordon is there likely will be a solid contingent of international scouts on hand to take notes on the Australians. Yet with professional opportunities available across the globe for former college players, making an impression on just one scout could be the connection that leads to meaningful career.
“Every time you have a chance to play with and against quality competition, like Wes is going to experience, it’s good,” Boyle said. “And that doesn’t even touch on the opportunity to go to Australia. It’s something I’ve never done. There’s not many guys his age who get that opportunity. Some people will never have that opportunity. It’s great for him and I think it’s really going to benefit him.”