Cairns Taipans academy graduate Aron Baynes is reportedly set to sign with the NBA's San Antonio Spurs this week.
The 208cm centre will join fellow Australian Patty Mills in Spurs' squad, after starring in the Euroleague with Slovenia's KK Union Olimpija following an impressive Olympics with the Boomers.
Former mentor and Cairns Taipans coach Aaron Fearne says the call up is fitting reward for the hard working Baynes.
He says several NBA scouts were looking at Baynes recently.
"All the credit goes to him. He's incredibly driven and passionate," Fearne says.
"He's temperamental but I like those guys. I think you can mould those guys into solid, aggressive players."
Baynes is the second far north Queensland player groomed by Fearne to be picked up by an NBA team.
Bamaga's Nathan Jawai was drafted in 2008 playing with the Toronto Raptors and Minnesota Timberwolves.
Fearne says such success is rare for a regional community.
"I was just saying to my wife last night, to have two guys from here and from the environments they've come from, to be in the NBA is pretty special," Fearne said.
"We're all pretty proud of that. I still remember the first day he walked through the door as a bottom-aged under-18s [player]. He was not real skilled.
"He was just this big kid, very gangly and not very coordinated, but he just worked."
Former Australian Boomers head coach Brett Brown is also an assistant with San Antonio.Tags: nbl, basketball, sport, cairns-4870, qld, australia, united-states First posted January 10, 2013 13:40:59