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AUS - New Bull Bairstow turns attention to Boomers
CANBERRA (FIBA Basketball World Cup) - Cameron Bairstow has an extra bounce in his step this week in Australia.
He has returned home to take part in the Boomers' training camp ahead of the FIBA Basketball World Cup.
The 23-year-old, who just wrapped up a very impressive American college basketball career with New Mexico, has signed a contract with the Chicago Bulls, the team that selected him in the second round of last month's NBA Draft, and become the sixth Australian currently in the league.
A player who shone for the Aussies in last year's Sino/Australia challenge and forced his way into the team for the FIBA Oceania Championship, Bairstow, with a contract in hand, is now able to concentrate on making a national side that will play in Gran Canaria's Group D against Slovenia, Lithuania, Angola, Mexico and Korea at Spain 2014.
"It was a lifetime goal to play in the NBA and every kid's dream, so to have that become a reality is pretty awesome," the 2.06m forward said on Wednesday in Canberra, where he is to train with the Boomers for the World Cup.
"But at the same time, it's what's next? What can you do to have a career in the NBA?"
Bairstow, who was speaking to the Australian media, added: "It's something to be proud of, but definitely something (I need) to continue to strive towards."
Australia coach Andrej Lemanis was very enthusiastic when discussing Bairstow's career prospects in an interview with FIBA.com just several hours after he was drafted by Chicago back in June.
"Cameron was with us (the Boomers) last year, came to the (World) University Games and did a great job last year at the Oceania Championship," Lemanis said.
"He's developed a lot over the last four or five years.
"Just being with him, I can appreciate his work ethic and professionalism and him being the best he can be.
"It's players like him and others - you preach it all the time that if you put in the work and believe good things will come, they will.
"And it puts a smile on your face when it comes to fruition."
When announcing the signing of Bairstow, Chicago Bulls general manager Gar Foreman said: "We like Cameron's combination as a player with his size, energy and physicality.
"He is a hard worker who will only get better with time."
Bairstow has joined an Australian tradition by signing with Chicago.
Bairstow is one of 17 players at the Boomers' training camp in Canberra.
Australia squad for FIBA Basketball World Cup: David Andersen, Cameron Bairstow, Aron Baynes, Angus Brandt, Ryan Broekhoff, Matthew Dellavedova, Dante Exum, Adam Gibson, Chris Goulding, Joe Ingles, Nathan Jawaii, Damian Martin, Brock Martin, Brad Newley, Ben Simmons, Lucas Walker and Mark Worthington.