Andrew Bogut showed flashes of brilliance on Monday night in the Delta Center, most notably on a couple of rebound dunks just minutes apart in the middle of the second half of the Milwaukee Bucks' 100-80 loss to the Utah Jazz.
He also showed that he's a rookie with plenty of room for improvement, most notably by getting himself in early foul trouble that plagued him the entire night.
Bogut is also finding out that, after being the offensive center of attention for the University of Utah a year ago, he is not expected to be a major scorer during his first year as a pro despite the fact he was the No. 1 overall pick in last June's NBA draft.
"Playing defense and rebounding," said Bogut of his role on the Bucks. "I don't expect the ball. I'm not going to get the ball or get many looks. I'm just trying to keep rebounding and get offensive rebounds. That's where I'm going to score my points."
Bogut finished with eight points on 3-of-4 shooting from the field and 2-of-4 from the foul line. He pulled down seven rebounds with a pair of assists and five fouls in nearly 22 minutes of action. Those numbers — except the minutes played — are right about his season averages for the 5-4 Bucks. He came into Monday's game averaging 7.5 points, an NBA rookie best 8.3 rebounds and two assists in 26 minutes per game.
Bogut "is doing well," said Bucks coach Terry Stotts. "He's a young man who is going to continue to improve. He's going to have his ups and downs like any rookie. But he's a talented player and he's committed to being a good player."
Bogut, for his part, is not nearly as satisfied with his NBA performance thus far.
"I've been struggling lately," Bogut said. "I've got a lot of work to do and have a lot of things I need to work on."
Bogut's college coach Ray Giacoletti was on hand to watch the player who led the Utes to 29 wins and the Sweet 16 in the NCAA Tournament last spring.
"It's fun to have the chance to watch Andrew in person," said Giacoletti.
"The Bucks practiced at the U. (Sunday) and then he spent the rest of the day with us and had the chance to talk to the team. You forget what a great person he is."
Bogut has started six of Milwaukee's nine games, but he came off the bench Monday night. He entered the contest with 7:56 remaining in the first quarter to a big cheer from the crowd.
"I didn't expect that. It was nice to get that ovation," said Bogut. "I think the people here respect me and I respect the people of Salt Lake City and Utah. I had a great time here and I think they know that. I wasn't just saying that. I wasn't just making that up. I really did have a great time here and (playing for the Jazz) was the first choice with Milwaukee being my second, so it worked out well."
Bogut said he misses the camaraderie he had with his college teammates and that is one of the biggest adjustments he's had to make as a pro.
His college coach, however, feels Bogut is already doing a nice job in the NBA.
"We've been able to watch him a lot at the office because we have a satellite," said Giacoletti. "It's been amazing to me how he's been able to do the little things and how he's made the transition from college to the pro game. He's rebounded the ball extremely well — he's had a 17-rebound game already this year. Plus, he does the little things, like making the extra pass or taking charges. His scoring will come as he continues to make the transition, but I think he's going to play a lot of games in this league."