A vocal Andrew Bogut has made his presence felt on and off the court in his first hitout for NBL side Sydney Kings.
Former NBA centre Bogut played just over 15 minutes against the Japan national team on Friday, tallying four points on two from five field goal attempts, five rebounds and a match-high six assists.
"I was always just trying to ease into it, I haven't played a game since January," Bogut said after the Kings 77-57 win at a sold out Brydens Stadium in Sydney.
"When I played with the (Los Angeles) Lakers, I wasn't getting a lot of minutes."
"It was my first organised hitout in seven months, so I just wanted to go as hard as I could in the first half.
"I'm just trying to get back into the rhythm, I'm not really looking at my stats too much.
"There's going to be games in the NBL season when I'm not going to be the leading scorer, I'm not going to be the leading rebound getter.
"But I know 'I'm going to still have an impact on the game just because I'm out there."
Sydney conceded just 19 points in the first half, but 38 in the second when Bogut didn't play.
His sublime passing and strong defensive presence was on show and he he barked out directions to his teammates on the court and during timeouts.
"I've always been a guy that has a loud opinion on and off the court and I'll continue to do that," Bogut said.
Sydney coach Andrew Gaze rated Bogut's contribution on Friday as really good.
"He's in really, really good shape physically but it's just a matter of trying to ease him back into the banging, the contact, the timing," Gaze said.
Sydney's other major off-season big man recruit Daniel Kickert starred on Friday, with a game-high 24 points, nailing six of his eight three-point attempts.
Kings imports Jerome Randle and David Wear didn't play after only arriving in Australia on Thursday.
Both are expected to suit up in Sydney's next pre-season hitout against American college side St Mary's at Terrigal on the NSW central coast next Wednesday.
American Brian Bowen Jr, the first player in the NBL's Next Stars program, may also get a run, as he is expected to arrive in Australia early next week.
Australian Associated Press