Andrew Gaze
 


 


Andrew Gaze
Quick Facts & Summary
 

 

  Andrew Barry Casson Gaze was born on 24th July 1965 in Melbourne, Victoria.

 

  His parents, Margaret and Lindsay Gaze lived at Albert Park, just a few kilometres from the central business district of Melbourne.

 

  For the first 13 years of his life, Gaze could practise on any of nine courts run and operated by his father, Lindsay, right on his backdoor step in the Melbourne suburb of Albert Park.

 

  As a student Andrew attended  Eastern Road Primary School and then Albert Park High School.

 
  During his  formative teenage years, Andrew used to watch and admire Eddie Palubinskas, Ian Davies, Phil Smyth and Leroy Loggins.
 


Gaze attempts a tap in

 
  When he first broke into the NBL as an amateur in 1984, Gaze looked up to and admired Larry Sengstock, Ray Borner and Wayne Carroll.
 
  Andrew was first selected in the Australian Junior team in 1982.
 
  In 1983, he represented Australia at the Junior World Championships in Spain.
 
  Andrew Gaze made his NBL debut against the Brisbane Bullets at Albert Park on February 2nd 1984.
 
  The Tigers lost that game 70-94. Andrew was the Tiger’s equal top scorer with 16 points.
 


Gaze makes a drive for the basket

 
  There were approximately 900 fans at Albert Park that night to see Andrew make his debut.
 
  On the 14th  February 1984, the NBL introduced two new rules. Firstly, the game would be played over four quarters instead of two halves and secondly, a 3 point line would be used for the first time. The latter rule was to greatly assist the effectiveness of Andrew Gaze.
 
  In the Tigers second match in the NBL, there were 5 Gazes involved. Lindsay’s brother, Tony coached the Frankston Bears which included Mark and Peter Gaze. Frankston won 91-86.
 
  Andrew and the Tigers celebrated their first NBL win a week later. In a return match against the Frankston Bears, the Tigers won 125-105.
 
  On 25th February 1984, Gaze played his first interstate match at AIS Arena, Canberra and finished with 31 points.
 


Andrew listens to Lindsay

 
  During his debut season in the NBL, Gaze averaged a staggering 29.1 points per game, 6.7 rebounds and 4.1 assists. It was an astonishing performance despite the fact that at that time Melbourne was one of the league’s bottom sides.
 
  Gaze won the NBL Rookie of the Year in 1984.
 
  Gaze made his Olympic debut as a 19-year-old in Los Angeles in 1984.  In so doing, he became the youngest man to represent Australia in basketball at Olympic level.
 
  On 24 August 1986, Gaze records his first career NBL triple-double against the Supersonics with 44 points, 12 rebounds and 12 assists.
 
  Melbourne finished the 1987 season in 14th and last place with a 3-23 win-loss record. Imagine the club's plight if it wasn't for the unbelievable scoring of Gaze that year. He scored a season-high 60, reached 50 on six occasions and racked up 40-plus points 10 times. Gaze's season-low, if you could call it that, was a pair of 30s. His season average of 44.1 points per game was a league best, ahead of Al Green on 39.5.
 


Andrew Gaze & Shane Heal keep their eyes on the ball.

 
  Andrew’s 1987 season set an NBL scoring record that will surely never be beaten. His 20 games that season consisted of the following.
 
54 vs Canberra
 38 vs Wollongong
 54 vs Brisbane
 30 vs Westside Melbourne
 30 vs West Sydney Westars
 31 vs Hobart
 38 vs Westside Melbourne
 40 vs Geelong
 41 vs North Melbourne
 44 vs Eastside Melbourne
 49 vs Sydney Supersonics
 39 vs Geelong
 60 vs Newcastle
 41 vs Wollongong
 41 vs Perth
 51 vs Adelaide
 47 vs Adelaide
 48 vs Perth
 54 vs Canberra
 52 vs North Melbourne
 
  On 11th July 1987, Andrew posted his career best 60-points in a 127-137 loss to the Newcastle Falcons. Andrew scored 27 points in the 3rd quarter.
 
  On 3rd May 1987, one of the best individual head-to-head performances in NBL history unfolded at Albert Park. In a game between the Tigers and the Bullets, Leroy Loggins scored 55 points and Andrew Gaze 54. The Bullets won the match 123-118. It was the third time in NBL history that opponents had posted 50-point games.
 
  One of Andrew Gaze’s most memorable international games was a friendly against the mighty Soviet Union at the old Glasshouse in 1987. Gaze scored 44 points including a monster 3-pointer on the buzzer to send the game into overtime. Had Gaze not been fouled out in extra time, Australia may have racked up an enormous win in the lead up to the Seoul Olympics.
 
  Andrew Gaze played his 100th NBL game on 8th May 1988. He scored an incredible 47 points in Melbourne’s 4 point win over the Geelong Supercats at the Glasshouse.
 


Andrew performs the floating jump shot

 
  On 17 June 1989, Gaze made his  second career triple-double against the Hobart Devils with 38 points, 10 rebounds and 11 assists.
 
  In 1989, while playing college ball with Seton Hall in the NCAA, Gaze won the West Regional MVP Award. He led the Pirates to the NCAA Finals where they lost to Michigan narrowly by 1 point in overtime.
 
  Andrew entered the 1989 NBA Draft as a junior and surprisingly went undrafted. He did win a trial with the Seattle Supersonics, but was the last player cut.
 
  In 1990, Andrew was hospitalized with a life-threatening blood clot. The rare deep vein thrombosis in his upper right arm put him on the sidelines for four months. He missed the 1990 playoffs but fortunately recovered fully to play professional basketball in Italy during the off-season. Andrew played for Udine and averaged 30 points per game.
 
  On 27th July 1991, history was made when the Hawks and the Tigers combined to produce the highest NBL scoring game ever with Melbourne winning 186-158. Gaze scored 59 points, after having 56 at three-quarter time. Melbourne scored 59 points in the first quarter, with Gaze contributing 27.
 


Lindsay Gaze

 
  In 1991, Gaze became the first NBL player to shoot over 1,000 points in a season.
 
  In the same year, he won the first of his seven NBL MVP awards, and he was also the first player to lead the League in scoring and assists in the same  season.
 
  Andrew played his 200th  NBL game on 12th June 1992 at Melbourne Park. He scored 40 points in a match against the Giants. The Tigers won by 15 points.
 
  In 1992, Andrew led the Tigers to their first Grand Final. They lost to the Perth Wildcats.
 
  In 1993, Andrew realized one of his lifelong dreams, when he captained the Melbourne Tigers to victory in the NBL Grand Final against the Perth Wildcats.
 


Andrew tries to score in heavy traffic

 

 


 

 


 

Part 1

 

On Thursday 12th May 2005, a unique and remarkable chapter in the history of Australian sport was concluded at a special media conference at the home court of the Melbourne Tigers. 

The father and son duo of Andrew and Lindsay Gaze announced their retirement. Although both will continue to be active within the Tigers organization, their decision to retire as player and coach respectively will have a profound effect on not only the Melbourne Tigers but also basketball in Australia generally.
 

Finally after 22 years with the Melbourne Tigers, Lindsay and Andrew Gaze have announced their retirements as coach and player. Their departure will  leave a huge gap in Australian basketball.

Lindsay's contribution to Australian basketball is immeasurable. In a career spanning almost 50 years, he represented Australia as a player at three Olympics, coached the National team at four more Olympics plus three World Championships, and coached the Melbourne Tigers for 22 consecutive seasons in the National Basketball League (NBL), winning championships in 1993 and 1997. 

However, this particular tribute will concentrate more specifically on the career and achievements of Lindsay's son, Andrew.  In a long and illustrious career, Andrew achieved almost everything possible in basketball. Seven NBL MVP awards, 14 scoring titles, the all-time NBL leader in points, assists and games, five Olympic Games including two as captain, four World Championships, NCAA Championship runner up with Seton Hall University and one NBA Championship with the San Antonio Spurs. All that and more!

Sports Card World salutes the man affectionately known as "Drewey".  A sportsman who became one of Australia's most recognizable and loved sporting heroes. We proudly present this simple tribute to an absolute legend of Australian sport.  

A rare and unique Aussie superstar!  ............  Andrew Gaze.
 

The announcement on 12th May 2005 did not come as a bombshell, nor did it catch anyone by surprise. Speculation about the impending Gaze retirements was rife even before the Melbourne Tigers departed on their China tour in late April. Then, in the first week of May, it was no secret that key figures in basketball were trying desperately to persuade Andrew to continue for one more year.  Andrew had also come under considerable pressure from Chinese based white-goods manufacturer, Haier. A substantial sponsor of the Melbourne Tigers, Haier had invested just as heavily in the Gaze name as it had in the Tigers. Andrew had not only become a household word and an instantly recognizable sporting personality in Australia, but he had also become the face of Haier in China.
 


Lindsay and Andrew pictured on 12th May 2005

Ultimately, Andrew's decision simply came down to the fact that the mind was willing but the body wasn't. Speaking at a press conference in the Gaze Lounge of the Tiger's home venue, Andrew said he had decided to retire because of the toll playing had taken on his body.

"I've been backwards and forwards about retiring since the end of the season.  I've had dad and a lot of other people trying to talk me into playing another year, but that's it. For me it's been more of a difficult decision, because my desire has always been to keep playing. I would love to keep playing as my mind's willing to keep playing but it pains me not to be able to keep playing at this level. But you get to a point where you think about your own wellbeing.  Because I started very, very young and I'm finishing very, very old there's a lot of wear and tear on the body that just makes it difficult to physically get through. My recollections of dreaming and imagining something heroic (as a child) was hitting the winning basket for Australia to win a medal at the Olympic Games. Because of those dreams that you have, when you eventually get there and get that opportunity to do that.... it's very, very special. Representing Australia would definitely be one of the highlights."

Gaze senior joked that his retirement had been the subject of much speculation as far back as 1992, and it had become something of an annual event ever since. When asked if he was a proud father, his mood changed quickly. Lindsay, normally not noted for lavish outbursts of public praise said,  "My departure will be hardly noticed, but you cannot possibly imagine the difference, the chasm that will be left in the game without Andrew. When you go through the history of his performances, and try to compare it with any other outstanding individual sports achievement, especially in the team concept, I struggle......"
 

As Gaze senior spoke about his son's achievements, the emotions welled up inside Andrew and he struggled to hold back the tears. The accolades from his father and long time mentor were almost too much. Perhaps too, the reality of retirement was just beginning to sink in.

Overall, the Gaze press conference was so typical of the way the Gaze family had conducted itself on and off the court for almost fifty years......effective, straight to the point, dignified, and down to earth......... with little fanfare and heaps of sincerity.  It was a fitting and appropriate way for father and son to depart.

 

 

Andrew Barry Casson Gaze was born on 24th July 1965 in Melbourne, Victoria. His parents, Margaret and Lindsay Gaze lived at Albert Park, just a few kilometres from the central business district of Melbourne. Lindsay was already a dual Olympian when Andrew was born, having represented Australia as a player at the 1960 Rome and 1964 Tokyo Olympics. He was also Manager of the Victorian Basketball Association and lived with his family in a residence attached to the old Albert Park Basketball Stadium.

It was an ideal setting for young Andrew to develop his love and passion for sport. In addition to the basketball, squash, badminton and table tennis facilities on his front door step, young Andrew was also within a short walk of Harry Trot Oval and the Albert Park Golf Course. When friends came over, there were always plenty of sporting options. For many though, it was their first introduction to the sport of basketball. Basketball in Australia during the sixties and seventies was a very low profile sport. Few of Andrew's school friends knew anything  about the game and even fewer had ever played it.
 

Above: A young Andrew Gaze  in 1989.

Above: 1992 Olympics in Barcelona

Andrew attended Eastern Road Primary School and then Albert Park High School. Although most of his school friends chose the more traditional sports of Australian rules football and cricket, basketball was always going to be Andrew's chosen sport. Andrew certainly tried other sports but he always came back to basketball. As Andrew once explained, "To use a boxing analogy, basketball won out in a no-contest. I'd heard a lot of stories about the Olympic Games from my Dad and I got the chance to hang around his teams as a young kid," he said. "I guess those influences from an early age inspired me to strive to be an Olympian."

Andrew began playing senior basketball at the age of 15. He quickly progressed from third division to second and then first division. In 1982, he was selected in the Australian Junior team and in 1983, represented Australia at the Junior World Championships in Spain. Andrew was beginning to showcase his enormous talent, particularly his ability to read the play and shoot accurately from either inside or from the perimeter. Later in 1983, at the age of 18, Andrew was first selected in the senior Australian squad amid quite a controversy. With Lindsay coaching the national team, the cries of favouritism were heard loudly and persistently.
 


Andrew looks to set up another score


Andrew in a very familiar pose

The Year 1984 was to be the break-out year for Andrew Gaze. Not only did the Melbourne Tigers make their NBL debut that year, but so too did a tall skinny kid by the name of Andrew Gaze. Andrew and the Tigers, under coach Lindsay Gaze, played their first game at Albert Park against the Brisbane Bullets. Few of the 900 spectators who saw that game realized they were witnessing the arrival of a future legend of the game. Although Brisbane ran out winners by 24 points, 94-70, Andrew made quite an impression scoring 16 points to be equal top scorer for the Tigers with Russ Dyer. Other Tiger teammates in that historic game included Brian Goorjian (Captain), Nigel Purchase, Ray Gordon and Alan Westover. Brisbane was coached by Brian Kerle and included an all-star line up of Leroy Loggins, Larry Sengstock, Ron Radliff, Robert Sibley and Mark Bragg. It was the first of many wonderful Gaze clashes with the Brisbane Bullets and Leroy Loggins in particular.

Loggins completed the 1984 season averaging 29.2 points per game and was awarded the league's MVP Award. Andrew finished the season averaging 29.1 points per game and was named the league's Rookie of the Year. The young Gaze had made quite an impression during his first season in the NBL. More importantly, he had attracted further interest from the Australian selectors who were looking to name the squad to represent Australia at the Los Angeles Olympics in late July through to mid August.
 

Andrew was named in the 1984 Australian Olympic team which was to be coached once again by his father Lindsay. This was Lindsay's fourth consecutive Olympic Games having coached the Olympic team in 1972 (Munich), 1976 (Montreal) and 1980 (Moscow). At the age of 19, Andrew became the youngest Australian basketballer ever to represent his country at the Olympics. Although he thoroughly deserved his place on the team, his selection again caused quite a stir. The cries of nepotism were once again loud and persistent. Fortunately, Andrew was to silence his critics with a very creditable performance in Los Angeles. During the Olympic tournament, Andrew averaged 18 minutes playing time and 10 point per game. Never again would anyone question the selection of Andrew Gaze in an Australian team.

From 1984, Andrew never looked back. During the 1980s, his NBL career went from strength to strength, and he quickly established himself as one of the premier players in the league. But the best was still to come. After surviving a life threatening blood clot in 1990, Andrew returned to the court to establish himself as the undisputed king of the NBL. His first MVP award came in 1991 and was quickly followed by a second in 1992. After missing out in 1993, Andrew collected five consecutive MVP awards from 1994 to 1998.


#10 brings the ball down court

There were so many highlights in the NBL career of Andrew Gaze. For Andrew though, the NBL Championships with his beloved Melbourne Tigers rank as his fondest memories. The first came in 1993. After losing the 1992 Championship Playoff against Perth, the Tigers once again lined up against the Wildcats in the 1993 finals playoff. With the series tied one all, Melbourne was faced with the bleak prospect of playing the deciding Game 3 at the Perth Entertainment Centre. Having lost their first 12 games at this venue, the Tigers somehow managed to grab a remarkable 104-102 victory against all the odds. Gaze contributed 22 points in that historic game, well below his season average of 33 ppg. The sight of Andrew and Lindsay Gaze hugging each other in those chaotic seconds after the final buzzer sounded, provided one of the most moving images in the history of Australian sport.


Victory!   And a very special moment for Andrew and Lindsay Gaze

The second victory came in 1997.  The Tigers closed out the South East Melbourne Magic at Melbourne Park in three games. It was a barn-storming finish for the Tigers who recorded 17 wins from their last 18 matches, including an NBL record of 16 consecutive victories. It was a particularly sweet triumph for the Tigers given that this game was played in Melbourne, in front of thousands of the Tigers faithful.
 

Above: Andrew is chaired of the court after his 600th NBL on 12th January 2005. It followed a victory over the Adelaide 36ers.

Another highlight of Andrew Gaze's NBL career took place on January 12th 2005. When Andrew took the court against the Adelaide 36ers, he became the first player in NBL history to notch up 600 games. Before the match, Andrew's mother, Margaret and wife, Melinda were presented with flowers before Andrew was congratulated by  former AFL legend, Kevin Bartlett and NBL Commissioner, Rick Burton. Gaze was presented with a flat-screen Philips television on behalf of the league. "You're looking at one of the best sportsmen Australia has ever produced," Burton told the sell-out crowd of 3500 fans.

Andrew's 612th and final NBL game was played at the Townsville Entertainment Centre on February 26th 2005. In a 112-100 playoff loss to the Townsville Crocodiles, Andrew's long and illustrious career finally came to an end. In that final game, Andrew spent just over 39 minutes on court and scored 13 points.

In addition to his NBL career, Andrew distinguished himself in other overseas competitions. In 1989, Andrew played a pivotal role in lifting Seton Hall to the NCAA Championships where they narrowly lost to Michigan in overtime. Along the way to the final, the small college from New Jersey upset both Indiana and Duke, and Andrew collected the West Regional MVP honour.

Following his outstanding season with Seton Hall, Andrew was surprisingly not drafted by any NBA Club. He was, however, invited to the Seattle veteran's camp where he was the last player cut by the Supersonics. Andrew remained philosophical about missing out on his first attempt at the NBA. In 1993, Andrew joined the Washington Bullets but never really got a chance to test his skills against the world's best. In seven NBA games, he only totalled 70 minutes court time, scoring a total of 22 points.
 

Another NBA opportunity came during the 1998-99 season; this time with the San Antonio Spurs. Gaze was signed by San Antonio’s head coach Gregg Popovich because of his outside shooting ability. Once again, his opportunities were limited and he had to be content with a minor role. Although he didn't make the playoff squad, Andrew was still very much part of the team and he did become the second Australian ever to win an NBA Championship ring. Luc Longley won three successive rings with the Chicago Bulls.

"It was great to have been there with the Spurs, but when I look back on my role with San Antonio, that year was fairly minimal," Gaze said. "But just being given the chance to share in that experience, playing alongside David Robinson and Tim Duncan - to have been in that locker room and winning the title was something pretty special. Getting to play in the NBA wasn't such a big step. It isn't beyond the realms of a lot of Australian kids to play at that level. The path to getting there is the most difficult for a player in Australia, but I believe we are developing players good enough to play at that level."

Andrew Gaze: Spurs 1989-99

In addition to his NBA experience, Andrew also played very successfully for three seasons in Europe. in Italy he played for Udine and in Greece, AC Apolon. For most Australians though, the fondest memories of Andrew Gaze are of him wearing the green and gold number 10.  During his illustrious international career, Gaze played 297 senior games for Australia including five Olympics (1984 Los Angeles, 1988 Seoul, 1992 Barcelona, 1996 Atlanta and 2000 Sydney) and four World Championships (1986 Spain, 1990 Argentina, 1994 Canada and 1998 Greece). Although he never achieved his dream of an Olympic medal, he and the Australian team came agonizingly close. On two occasions, 1988 Seoul and 1996 Atlanta, the team lost a bronze medal playoff and had to be content with fourth place.

Andrew Gaze leads the Australia team into the main stadium at the Opening Ceremony of Sydney 2000. It was one of Andrew's proudest moments in his long career.

Strangely though, one of the greatest highlights of his wonderful international career would take place off court. Two days before the 2000 Sydney Olympics commenced, AOC chief John Coates informed Andrew that he had been chosen Australia's flag bearer for the Opening Ceremony. When asked how he reacted to the news, Andrew replied, "I cried. I was with Mark Bradtke in the athletes' village and he cried with me, we collectively had a cry. The appointment had such an enormous impact on me. It is hard to describe such a unique emotion - I was just as proud to have been chosen to represent all the other athletes in such a manner. It is, without doubt in my mind, the highest honour you can have in Australian sport, and to do it in front of your home crowd and your family and friends was very humbling."

As Olympic Team Captain, Andrew proudly led 600 Aussie athletes and officials into the main stadium in  front of 110 000 adoring spectators and millions of television viewers all around the world. It was an experience of a life-time.

By the time Andrew retired from international competition after Sydney 2000, he was the highest point scorer in Olympic history, and the second highest point scorer in World Championship history. He was also named International Player of the Year five times (1990, 1994-96, 1998).
 

The bond between father and son is something very special