As a 22-year-old, Anatoly Bose climbed the stage at Melbourne’s Crown Casino to accept the 2012 NBL Rookie of the Year award.
Bose had come off an impressive college career at Nicholls State where his scoring ability was on full display. As a junior he scored a career high 46 points against Northwestern State (two points shy of the Nicholls State all-time record) and as a senior finished as the schools third all-time leading scorer with 2,050 points.
He gained the attention of many NBA scouts that year, however it was a year that an NBA lockout forced the cancellation of all rookie camps and Bose, who had attended school in Bondi, decided his best move was to return home and play for the Sydney Kings.
Bose averaged 15.5 points, 6.7 rebounds and 1.5 assists per game and the Kings appeared to have struck gold, finding a local Sydney boy who could help rebuild a team who had just re-entered the NBL and trying to return the club to its former glory.
It wasn’t only the Sydney Kings who had long term plans for Bose. In 2011 he had been identified as an emerging Boomer and selected to play for Australia in the YouYi games. A tournament where coach Brett Brown would evaluate potential young Boomers in a match-up against China.
At the time Bose spoke openly about his dream to play for Australia at the London Olympics and played well against China, teaming with current Boomers stalwarts Aron Baynes, Damian Martin and Daniel Kickert.
Instead, Bose, who reverted back to his birth name of Anatoliy Kolesnikov in 2013, gained the attention of BC Astana, a Kazakhstani pro team who took notice of the talented Kazakhstani born star making a name for himself in Sydney.
Even though the Kings had already agreed to play with Sydney that upcoming season BC Astana’s bank account made sure that wouldn’t stop Astana from bringing Anatoliy home.
It’s not easy to see Kazakhstani basketball from Australia, but since we last saw Anatoliy he has been busy gathering accolades to sit beside his 2012 Rookie of the Year trophy. He is now a three-time Kazakhstan League champion (2013–2015), a two-time Kazakh Player of the Year (2014, 2015) and two-time Kazakhstan Cup champion (2013, 2014).
In 2014, the boy spent his childhood on a Kazakhstan farm, running across paddocks filled with sheep and cattle as his family made honey decided he would relinquish his Boomers dreams in order to play for his homeland.
Kolesnikov represented Kazakhstan at the 2015 FIBA Asia Championship, where he averaged 11.0 points and 5.8 rebounds. On the 27th of November, the Boomers face Japan in a qualification match for the 2019 FIBA World Cup. On that same day, Anatoliy hopes he can lead Kazakhstan to victory over Iran and eventually a game against the country where he began his career.
No matter what happens this November, Anatoliy hopes he hasn’t played his last game for the Kings. Last month, while in between contracts for BC Astana he worked out regularly with Kings assistant coach Luke Kendall and was set to play for the Kings on their recent tour of China. A phone call from BC Astana quickly changed those plans however.
“I would love to play for the Kings again if there’s an opportunity for me. The Kings had told me they wanted to see me play in China first but when a club like Astana send a guarnteed offer your way, it’s hard to knock it back” said Kolesnikov.
Anatoliy will now play a fifth season for BC Astana who compete in both the Kazakhstani league and the VTB league. The VTB is regarded as the best in the world outside of the NBA and Euroleague and having to guard names like Nando De Colo and Milos Teodosic means Anatoliy gets no nights off playing in Kazakhstan.
“Physically and mentally it’s a lot tougher playing over here than the NBL. There’s two practices a day, way more games, crazy weather and obviously the culture, but in saying that it has been an amazing challenge which has helped me develop as a basketball player and a human being” said Kolesnikov.
Not to leave out the crazy fans, something the European basketball leagues are renowned for having.
“One time a fan tried to fight my Serbian coach during a time-out. It ended with water bottles being thrown, some spitting and eventually security stepping in” recounts Anatoliy.
As Anatoly Bose, he was able to claim a gold medal for New South Wales at the Under-20 national titles in 2007. Although it won’t be anytime soon, hopefully, we see Anatoliy Kolesnikov bring the NBL trophy back to New South Wales as a member of the Sydney Kings before it’s all said and done.