Standing 611, it is not hard to realize why American colleges paid attention to Ogilvy to start with. However, it was not until this years Douai Tournament in France that the Aussie big man began to hear his name muttered amongst NBA scouts. In France, Ogilvy established himself as the top center prospect that the event had to offer, averaging nearly 20 points per game and leading Australia to a 5-1 record. Things only got better for the big man as the summer went on, however.
The FIBA Under-19 World Championships boasted well-known prospects such as Victor Claver, Nicolas Batum, Michael Beasley, and DeAndre Jordan. While these four have been on the NBA radar for years now, it was Ogilvy who completely dominated the competition, averaging 22.3 points, 9.8 rebounds, and 2.4 blocks per game, shooting a sizzling 68.6% from the field. He was the most productive big man in Novi Sad along with Brazilian Paulo Prestes, being one of handful players considered for MVP of the event, although the award eventually ended up going to Milan Macvan.
Offensively, A.J. brings quite a bit to the table. He combines excellent footwork on the low blocks with the ability to play in the high post, making him a nightmare for opposing defenders at the junior levels. His ability to pass the ball, both out of the high and low post, really sets him apart from your normal center prospect. The 14 assists that he totaled throughout his 9 games at U-19 do not accurately depict the future Commodore's ability to share the basketball.
Around the basket, Ogilvy shows great toughness. He is a bull fighting for position on the blocks, and once he has the ball, attempts to go right through defenders, evidenced by his 72 attempted free throws in 9 games in Serbia. The strength that the center possesses transcends directly to his ability to finish around the rim, which he has no problem doing with both his right and left hands. He uses his body awfully well near the cup, in order to make up for his relatively average leaping ability. The fundamentals are there also, with Ogilvy keeping the ball high every time he touches it, not enabling guards to deflect the ball once it touches his soft hands.
The toughness that Ogilvy offers also translates on to the defensive end, where he has proven to be especially productive as well. He displayed the ability to rebound the ball well, does not give up ideal position to opposing big men, and makes his presence felt to any player who comes through the paint. Not an exceptional leaper or athlete, Andrew is able to block a considerable amount of shots due to his nice wingspan and outstanding ability to both time, and judge his leaps.
Physically, Ogilvy owns a nice body for a center at around 240 lbs with room to grow. While he does not look exceptionally strong on first look, he certainly plays the part of a massive center. Athleticism is certainly Andrews biggest weakness as far as his current NBA outlook is concerned. He is pretty average for a center athletically, both in terms of quickness and leaping ability. Ogilvy struggled quite a bit defending the pick and roll in the games that we observed, leaving one to question how well he will be able to defend the athletic marvels that the SEC has to offer year in and year out.
Any way that you look at it, Vanderbilt got an absolute steal in Ogilvy. Derrick Byars departure will leaving a huge scoring void that will likely be filled by an increased scoring output from Shan Foster and whatever Ogilvy contributes. With the SEC being somewhat down this season as far as NBA prospects are considered, it is certainly not out an outlandish statement to say that A.J. will be among the SECs most heavily scouted prospects, along with Ron Steele and Mareese Speights. A strong performance in his freshman season will give Ogilvy a chance to land himself a spot in the first round of the 2008 draft, or even possibly much higher.
Rodger Bohn: How have things changed between now and 2 months ago, before the Douai Tournament?
Ogilvy: Personally, I think that the only thing that has changed is my confidence. I'm a lot more confident in my abilities now then I was before the Douai tournament. The only other thing that has changed is some people making the rare remark about me playing professionally.
Rodger Bohn: How did your recruitment go from the beginning?
Ogilvy: Early on, I was recruited by a few schools mainly through contacts, like my coaches knew coaches sort of thing. Then when I went to the AIS, got a lot more exposure to college coaches, and the college system. With players like Andrew Bogut, Daniel Kickert, Aaron Bruce, and Aleks Maric coming out of the AIS, college coaches take a lot more notice of the players from there and often come over and check out the young talent Australia has to offer.
Rodger Bohn: Why did you decide on Vanderbilt, of all schools?
Ogilvy: Well I had a few schools that wanted me to come on visits, so I sat down with my AIS coaches and my parents and sorted out where would be good places to visit, because coming from Australia it's not really like I could take unofficial visits. I took into consideration where the university was located, what conference they were in, the system of play the coach used, and whether I would be able to play right away or if I'd have to sit on the bench for a few years-- because thats not what I wanted. In October of last year, I visited UNLV, St Mary's, and New Mexico. When I got to Vanderbilt it was just a perfect fit. The coaches are great, the players are awesome, and I felt I had an excellent chance to go there and play in a solid conference and get minutes.
Rodger Bohn: When you were looking at potential colleges, were you looking for a place where you would have the opportunity and come in, make an impact right away, and have the opportunity to go to the NBA after one year?
Ogilvy: To be honest, I never thought of leaving after one year to go to the NBA. It wasn't even a consideration. I was looking for somewhere that I could come in and make an impact right away though. Some coaches were talking to me about the fact that they have better NBA contacts than others, but at the time it didn't really concern me.
Rodger Bohn: What was Vanderbilt's pitch to land you? How did they get it done?
Ogilvy: I guess their pitch was "if we can get him over here, we'll get him". If Coach Rich reads this, he will know exactly what I mean. At first I was a little hesitant about playing in the SEC and going to Vanderbilt. But Coach told me that if I came on a visit, then there was 75% chance I would choose to go there and as much as I hate to admit it, he was right. After day one of my visit, I knew it was where I wanted to be. Apart from that, it was playing in the SEC and the educational status of Vanderbilt that attracted me.
Rodger Bohn: What are your expectations for both yourself and your team at Vanderbilt next year?
Ogilvy: I'm really looking forward to having a great season with all the guys. They are a great group of people as well as players. Personally I hope to improve my game as much as possible by learning everything I can from the coaching staff. And as a team, well you'll just have to wait and see.
Rodger Bohn: Have you realized that you will likely be one of the most heavily scouted players in the SEC by NBA scouts?
Ogilvy: No, the thought never even crossed my mind. I'm sure players like Chris Lofton will get a lot more attention than me.
Rodger Bohn: Did you envision receiving attention from NBA personnel a year ago when you committed to Vandy?
Ogilvy: Definitely not. I never thought I would really get any attention from scouts, especially before I even started playing at college. If you had told me a year ago that people would be saying the things they are, I would have laughed.
Rodger Bohn: Has the Vanderbilt coaching staff spoken with you since your performance at the U-19 championships?
Ogilvy: One of the coaches actually came over and watched some of the games, which was a little disappointing because he saw the game where we lost to Brazil. All that he really said over there was that they were proud of how I was playing and that they can't wait to get me over there and into a uniform.
Rodger Bohn: Has the Vanderbilt fan base started to realize what they have coming in? Have the Vandy fans taken much notice to you?
Ogilvy: I think being Australian has sort of helped me stay off the radar of most fans, but I was reading a forum the other day where they were talking about me. So I'm pretty sure that they at least know Im coming. It's funny to have people I've never met talking about me.
Rodger Bohn: Did any European teams offer you contracts to go pro instead of going to college?
Ogilvy: A few agents talked to my parents at The World championships but they told them I was going to college.
Rodger Bohn: Do you know which teams they were?
Ogilvy: I think the agent was talking about a team in Belgrade.
Rodger Bohn: Did any Australian teams offer you big contracts to stay?
Ogilvy: Big contracts? I didn't get offered any contracts. I guess everyone sort of knew that I wanted to go to college so they didn't really offer me anything.
Rodger Bohn: Why did you decide to go to college instead of going pro?
Ogilvy: Going to college has always being something I wanted to do, even as a young kid. It wasn't really a conscious decision where I sat down and went "Okay, Im going to college". Its just what I knew I wanted to do. So playing pro wasnt really an option. I guess one of the original draw cards that college ball had was playing in front of such big crowds. Even our pro league doesnt get half the crowd that a college game gets.
Rodger Bohn: Are you sick of the Andrew Bogut comparisons?
Ogilvy: Nah, not yet. They've only really started since the U-19 world championships so I havent had to deal with too many people throwing them at me just yet.
Rodger Bohn: Do you have any sort of a relationship with Bogut?
Ogilvy: No, I don't. I saw him once training with the national team at the AIS but thats it.
Rodger Bohn: Can you run down a typical day for yourself at the Australian Institute of Sport, both academically and athletically?
Ogilvy: Basically its basketball fitted in around the school timetable. We only do 4 classes so it gives us plenty of time to practice. A typical day usually looks like:
8 am: Team Shooting (45 mins to an hour)
12: Either weights or an individual (an hour to 90 mins)
4: Team Practice (90 mins to 2 hours)
7:30-9:30: Study hall
Rodger Bohn: NBA Commissioner David Stern is looking at AIS and INSEP (France) as models for possible academic/athletic training academies. Do you think that America could use a training academy similar to AIS?
Ogilvy: I think that every nation can benefit from a training center such as the AIS or INSEP. Although America doesn't seem to have any problem producing high quality players with the system it has. I guess it would benefit but it would only help such a small group of players, when there are so many to choose from.
Rodger Bohn: How do you think AIS benefited you as opposed to a traditional school?
Ogilvy: The AIS made me into the player I am. Working out a couple of times every day and playing against the best players in the country daily definitely helped develop my game. I also think the coaches at the AIS played a large part in that as well, they really pushed me to my limits and made sure that everything that I was doing was at a high level. At a "traditional" Australian school we would have trained twice a week as a team, so it's pretty much two opposite ends of the scale. I may have still improved, but I don't think I would be anywhere near where I am now if I had stayed at a traditional school.