Andrew Barry Casson Gaze, AM (born 24 July 1965) is an Australian former professional basketball player and former head coach of the Sydney Kings of the National Basketball League (NBL). He has been described as one of the greatest players Australia has ever produced. Gaze played every season for the Melbourne Tigers, between 1985 and 2005 and won 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 team member every year between 1986 and 2000, a feat matched by no other player in NBL history.
Gaze at a Melbourne Tigers home game in 2011
|Born||24 July 1965|
|Listed height||201 cm (6 ft 7 in)|
|Listed weight||95 kg (209 lb)|
|High school||Albert Park College|
|College||Seton Hall (1988–1989)|
|NBA draft||1989 / Undrafted|
|1999||San Antonio Spurs|
|Career highlights and awards|
|FIBA Hall of Fame as player|
Gaze led the senior Australian national team, the Boomers, to five Summer Olympic Games – including as the flag bearer at the opening ceremony of the 2000 Sydney Olympics, and he was also the Australian Team Captain. He was inducted into the Australian Basketball 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. Two Australian basketball awards have been named in Gaze's honour: the NBL MVP award is named the Andrew Gaze Trophy, and the Australian International Player of the Year award is named the Gaze Medal.
Early life and familyEdit
Gaze was born in Melbourne, Victoria, the son of Lindsay and Margaret Gaze, and has an older sister, Janet. Gaze is also the nephew of former Australian Opals coach Tony Gaze and the cousin of Mark Gaze, who played 182 games in the NBL from 1983–1991 and represented Australia at the 1982 FIBA World Championship. He is also the second cousin of Canberra Capitals guard Kate Gaze, the daughter of Mark Gaze and former WNBL player Michelle O'Connor.
Gaze grew up at Albert Park Basketball Stadium, the home of the Victorian Basketball Association (VBA), with his father the general manager of the VBA at the time. After graduating from Albert Park College, Gaze pursued a professional basketball career and attended Victoria University in Melbourne.
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. By 1986, he made his first All-NBL First Team selection. He would go on to earn first-team honours in 15 straight seasons (1986–2000).
In the 1987 NBL season, Gaze set a still standing (as of 2017–18) NBL record for average points per game in a season when he averaged 44.1 points, breaking the previous record of 39.5 ppg set by Al Green of the West Adelaide Bearcats in 1984. This was despite the Tigers finishing on the bottom of the 1987 NBL ladder with a 3–23 record. Such was Gaze's dominance for the Tigers that while he averaged 44.1 ppg (in 20 games), the Tigers themselves only managed 101.3 ppg for the season. During 1987, Gaze had one 60-point game (against the Newcastle Falcons) and another five times he scored over 50 points. His dominance on the scoreboard wasn't just limited to scoring against other poorly performed teams. He twice scored 54 points against the Phil Smyth led Canberra Cannons who finished fifth; he averaged 49 points in two games against the 1986 champions (and 1987 minor premiers) Adelaide; he scored 54 points against eventual champions Brisbane; and scored 52 in the final game of the season against North Melbourne who finished sixth.
Following the 1988 NBL season, Gaze, who was spotted by talent scouts while playing for Australia at the 1988 Olympics, moved to the United States after being recruited 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. After completing his season at Seton Hall with an 80–79 overtime loss to the Michigan Wolverines in the NCAA Championship Game which was played in front of 39,187 fans at the Kingdome in Seattle, Gaze returned to Australia and re-joined the Tigers for the 1989 NBL season.
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 to the Tigers faithful, Gaze was a front runner 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. Playing under his father with the Tigers, Gaze assured the team 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 League club side, Udine. In a six-month stint in Italy, he averaged over 30 points per game. 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 the Greek Basket League club Apollon Patras. 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.
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.
National team careerEdit
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 he was also 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.
Gaze also competed in four FIBA World Cups with the Boomers, as he played in more than 280 matches for Australia. Gaze is the second best all-time scorer in both major worldwide national team competitions, after Oscar Schmidt. He is the second all-time scorer, behind only Schmidt, in both Summer Olympic Games history, and FIBA World Cup history.
In February 2018, the Kings confirmed Gaze as their head coach for the 2018–19 season. On 19 February 2019, it was announced that Gaze would step down as coach of the Kings at the conclusion of the team's finals campaign.
Off the courtEdit
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 Bounce on Fox Footy. In 2006, he appeared in season five of Dancing with the Stars.
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.
Gaze and his wife Melinda have four children; Courtney, Phoebe, Annie and Mason. In 2014, he was named Australian Father of the Year by children's charity The Shepherd Centre.
Records, honours and awardsEdit
- Record for most Summer Olympic Games for an Australian basket player (5 – 1984, 1988, 1992, 1996 and 2000)
- Flag bearer at the opening ceremony of the 2000 Sydney Olympics and the Australian Team Captain
- Inducted into the Australian Basketball Hall of Fame (2004), Sport Australia Hall of Fame (2005), and FIBA Hall of Fame (2013)
- Was made a Member of the Order of Australia in 2002
- NBL all-time:
- 1st in Points – 18,908
- 1st in Assists – 3,531
- 1st in Field Goals Made – 6,484
- 1st in 3-Pointers Made – 1,826
- 1st in Free Throws Made – 4,114
- 2nd in Games Played – 612
- 3rd in Steals – 1,075
- NBL's highest single-season points per game average (44.1) (1987)
- 9× NBL three-point field goal leader (1988, 1989, 1992, 1993, 1996–1999, 2000)
- 10× NBL free-throw percentage leader (1990, 1992, 1994–1996, 1999, 2001–2004)
- NBA champion (1999)
- 2× NBL champion (1993, 1997)
- 7× NBL MVP (1991, 1992, 1994–1998)
- 15× All-NBL First Team (1986–2000)
- All-NBL Second Team (2001)
- 16× NBL scoring champion (1986–2001)
- NBL assist champion (1989)
- 11× NBL All-Star (1988–1997, 2004)
- 2× NBL All-Star Game MVP (1989, 1992)
- NBL Rookie of the Year (1984)
- 8× NBL Most Efficient Player (1990–1997)
- 6× Gaze Medalist (1990, 1994–1996, 1998, 2000)
- FIBA's 50 Greatest Players (1991)
- Australian Basketball Hall of Fame (2004)
- Sport Australia Hall of Fame (2005)
- Was named a member of the NBL's 20th, 25th and 40th anniversary teams
|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|
|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|
|1993 †||Melbourne Tigers||33||33||45.8||1056||32.0||10.6||20.8||.511||3.1||8.0||.391||7.5||8.7||.858||4.6||6.3||2.7||0.3||5.0||3.4|
|1997 †||Melbourne Tigers||35||35||47.9||1080||30.9||10.4||20.1||.520||4.0||10.4||.390||5.8||6.7||.857||4.6||6.7||1.4||0.4||4.5||3.5|
- Scanlan, Alex (25 August 2015). "He set records galore in the NBL but has Andrew Gaze been usurped as our best ever basketballer?". FoxSports.com. Retrieved 5 March 2017.
- "Q & A WITH ANDREW GAZE". NBL.com.au. 7 April 2016. Retrieved 5 March 2017.
- ANDREW GAZE INDUCTED INTO FIBA HALL OF FAME
- Basketball legend ANDREW GAZE inducted into FIBA Hall Of Fame
- Player statistics for Andrew Gaze
- Andrew Gaze College Stats
- Gaze Is Gone But Questions Arise
- Andrew Gaze and Lanard Copeland
- Andrew Gaze – Music Theatre Australia
- Andrew Gaze playing in Greece
- Andrew Gaze NBA Stats
- Andrew Gaze Olympic Stats
- Australian Olympic Committee: Andrew Gaze
- ANDREW GAZE ANNOUNCED AS MELBOURNE TIGERS HEAD COACH
- Andrew Gaze to coach Melbourne Tigers in SEABL but NBL dreams remain
- Australian basketballers making big impression in US college system
- SYDNEY KINGS ANNOUNCE ANDREW GAZE AS NEW HEAD COACH
- GAZE JOINS INDIANA PACERS
- Sydney Kings confirm Andrew Gaze as head coach for 2018-19 NBL season
- Andrew Gaze To Step Down As Sydney Kings Coach After NBL19 Finals
- Gaze bounces out of show
- "Ambassadors". BeehiveFoundation.org.au. Retrieved 22 March 2016.
- "We are extremely excited to announce that Basketball Legend and media..." Facebook.com. 22 March 2016. Retrieved 22 March 2016.
- Basketball legend Andrew Gaze named 2014 Australian Father of the Year
- "#NBLRANK THE GREATEST PLAYERS OF ALL TIME – SHOOTING GUARD". aussiehoopla.com. 15 September 2016. Retrieved 5 November 2018.
- "NBL ALL-TIME STATISTICS". aussiehoopla.com. Retrieved 25 November 2017.
- Ward, Roy (8 February 2018). "Andrew Gaze, Mark Bradtke head NBL 40th anniversary team". smh.com.au. Retrieved 17 August 2018.
- Camp Quality (2007). Laugh Even Louder!. Gosford, New South Wales: Scholastic Australia Pty Limited. p. 12. ISBN 978-1-74169-022-4.