Bogut may not be passing the Bucks

Headed to Milwaukee? The team picking first in the draft is said to be favoring the former Ute center
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Milwaukee or Atlanta?

For ex-University of Utah star Andrew Bogut, that is the big question.

Milwaukee and Atlanta own the top two picks in the upcoming NBA draft, and Bogut is certain to be taken by the Bucks or the Hawks.

Milwaukee has the No. 1 pick, and it is believed the undersized Bucks are leaning toward taking Bogut, a 7-footer, over North Carolina freshman Marvin Williams.

"I'm more experienced," Bogut said. "He's got more potential."

Bogut might have accidently dropped a hint about his future Friday, when he attended a photo shoot at the Huntsman Center.

Afterward, posing for some pictures that will be used in future University of Utah promotional material, Bogut met with the media.

Asked what jersey number he planned to wear as a professional, Bogut said the No. 4 he had worn in college has already been retired in Milwaukee (worn by Sidney Moncrief).

"I just found out," Bogut said. "[So] I'll have to think about that one."

If there is bratwurst, beer and bitterly cold Wisconsin winters in Bogut's not-too-distant future, he seems happy with his preparation for the opportunity.

Bogut has spent the last couple of months living in Washington, D.C., where he has been working out under the direction of John Duren, a former Georgetown star and Utah Jazz No. 1 draft pick.

Bogut plays basketball and lifts weights "three or four hours a day." Combined with a nutrition-first diet, he claims to have added 20 pounds of muscle while increasing his flexibility since the Utes' season ended.

"I'm in top physical shape at the moment," said Bogut, who averaged 20.4 points and 12.2 rebounds last season, when coach Ray Giacoletti replaced Rick Majerus and made him the centerpiece of Utah's offense.

"Coach Giacoletti said, 'Play inside, we'll get you the ball and we'll win games,' " Bogut said.

Utah won plenty of games, reaching the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament. Along the way, Bogut emerged as a possible No. 1 draft pick.

Milwaukee or Atlanta?

"It's a win-win situation, either way," he said.

Bogut expects to play a major role for the Bucks or Hawks as a rookie because both teams "need help in the middle."

That could be a key if the Bucks decide to take Bogut over Williams, a talented but relatively inexperienced forward who spent just one season at North Carolina before declaring for the draft.

On the other hand, Bogut has been playing internationally since 2001. He averaged 14.8 points and 8.8 rebounds as a member of the 2004 Australian Olympic team, when he held his own against players like Tim Duncan.

Bogut parlayed that confidence - plus his gigantic senior season under Giacoletti - into fame and pending fortune. Even some bad-mouthing by Majerus won't stop him from being the No. 1 or No. 2 pick in the draft on June 28.

A few weeks ago, Majerus reportedly told some NBA personnel-types that Bogut lacked athleticism and his near-sightedness was something more serious - a symptom of a degenerative eye disease that could impact his career.

After officials from the Bucks and Hawks convinced themselves that Majerus' warnings weren't true, Bogut's status as a top pick in the draft was re-established.

Bogut declined to field questions about Majerus or his apparent attempt to hurt his position in the draft, saying only he never pays attention to rumors.

NBA-bound Bogut

* Former Ute Andrew Bogut is expected to be a top pick in the June 28 NBA draft.

* Milwaukee and Atlanta hold the No. 1 and 2 picks; the Bucks are believed to be leaning toward Bogut over North Carolina's Marvin Williams.

* If Bogut is taken first, it would be the first time the NBA and NFL top picks came from the same school - Utah's Alex Smith was taken No. 1 by the 49ers in April.