Aron Baynes defied the odds coming from a small town in Mareeba (population 7,000) to become an NBA champion.
Date of Birth:
Aron Baynes began playing basketball as a late teen but quickly attracted the attention of basketball coaches across Queensland and was able to represent the state by 2002. He was offered a scholarship shortly after the state championships with the Australian Institute of Sport.
After one season in Canberra, the 208cm star headed to the USA, after multiple offers from American colleges, deciding to take up a scholarship at Washington State University.
Baynes would establish himself as one of the most physically gifted big men in college basketball, helping the Cougars to several NCAA tournament runs. By the time Baynes graduated he had etched himself into all-time top 10 in field goal percentage (eighth – .546) and blocks (seventh – 93).
The next few years were a series of one season stopovers for Baynes which included a brief stint in the NBA Summer League with the Los Angeles Lakers. He then began his professional career in Lithuania where he didn’t understand the language, stop overs in European countries like Germany and Greece before signing with Slovenia, where he would rapidly become the best big man outside of the NBA.
It was a remarkable Euroleague season for Baynes, who was in the top 10 for points and rebounds despite his team getting knocked out of competition at the first group stage.
These performances didn’t go unnoticed, with Baynes signing a deal with the San Antonio Spurs to join the NBA ranks alongside Boomers teammate Patty Mills and former Boomers Head Coach Brett Brown.
The “Big Banger” has been dominating NBA big men ever since.