Vanderbilt basketball player A.J. Ogilvy is preparing to compete for a spot on the Australian national team that will play in the Summer Olympics in Beijing.
The 6-foot-11 Ogilvy, who produced one of the best freshman seasons in VU history in 2007-08, is flying from Nashville to Sydney on Wednesday. Tryouts for the team begin May 3.
Ogilvy said representing his home country in the Olympics would fulfill a dream.
“It’s the one thing I want to do in basketball,” he said. “It’s what I dreamt of as a young kid playing basketball and my whole life. It’s wonderful to finally have the opportunity.”
Ogilvy started for Vanderbilt at center and averaged 17 points per game, best in the Southeastern Conference among freshmen. He also averaged a team-high 6.7 rebounds per game.
Ogilvy is one of 35 players invited to compete for a spot on the Australian team, known as the Boomers. Twelve players will make the final roster.
Among those competing are Andrew Bogut of the NBA’s Milwaukee Bucks and current college players Patrick Mills of St. Mary’s and Aron Baynes of Washington State.
“I spoke to the coach a few weeks ago, and he said he likes what I’ve done the past few years and said I have a pretty good opportunity to be in the running for selection,” Ogilvy said. “There are a lot of great players. It will be a challenge to step up and bring my best basketball. If I play well, I feel like I have a good opportunity to make the team.”
Ogilvy expects his summer experience to be positive whether he makes the team or not.
“Even if I don’t make the team, going home and playing against guys like Andrew Bogut and veterans who have been playing for years, it’s going to undoubtedly improve my game tremendously,” he said. “It’s a great opportunity and I’m really looking forward to it.”
The Australian team has never won a medal in Olympic basketball play.
An expanded question-and-answer session with Ogilvy will appear in Friday’s print and online editions of The City Paper.