Milwaukee may be the home of the Miller Brewing Company, but lately Bucks fans have been getting drunk off of a heaping serving of BO-dweiser.
Since the post-lockout NBA reset, the Milwaukee Bucks have been retooling with some interesting pieces, including the dime-dishing Nick Van Exel and budding star Shawn Marion. But if you ask many members of the Bucks organization and their fans, they’ll tell you who they are going gaga for.
“Bo takes the cake,” one team official complimented. “Whether it’s his energy on the court, leadership during practice, or charisma off the court, he [Bo Outlaw] is the back bone of this team.” Bo Outlaw has been filling up the stat sheet all season, with 17 double-doubles in 23 games. He’s also averaging 15.7 points per game, 11.4 rebounds per game, and 2.2 blocks per game.
Even when prompted about his stellar play, his lighthearted personality and humble nature shine most. “What’s a double-double? Some kind of Wendy’s burger?” he joked when asked about his recent stat lines. “But seriously, without guys like Olden [Polynice], Shawn [Marion], and Nick [Van Exel] making their plays, I would never get the opportunities to help this team succeed the way we have.”
He might be on to something there. Van Exel has been brilliant with his play as of late, leading the team in scoring and assists. “We like to call Nick the ‘Tasmanian Devil’ because a whirlwind out there and is just tearing it up. Not to mention, he drools a little bit.”
Outlaw’s implies that his success in the paint and on the boards is directly related to the play of his fellow front-court friends. “Olden, Matt [Geiger], and Etan [Thomas] straight up ball. Olden and Matt are both putting up around 10 a game, drawing defensive attention from me. I feed off their physical presence and like to think they feed off mine. These guys are blue-collar workers trying to make that paper.”
Outlaw also credited Shawn Marion with taking some of the heat off of him. “Shawn. Man, Shawn. I don’t even know where to begin. This young buck – pun intended – comes out and at times just puts the team on his back. And he’s only 22. At 22, I was just figuring out that the ball is supposed to go IN the basket. Hell, I still haven’t figured that out when it comes to free throws.” Bo is currently shooting 60% from the charity stripe this season. “I mean, it could be worse. Could be 0%. I’m a glass half-full kind of guy.”
Outside of free throw shooting, Bo’s only other real flaw is his propensity to get in foul trouble. He’s currently among the top 20 players in fouls per game. “It’s like Bo beats those guys like they owe them money or something,” shooting guard Mitch Richmond said laughingly. Van Exel concurred. “I’m pretty sure I speak for the team when I say we’re glad we don’t play against him.”
Bo anchors Milwaukee’s 3rd ranked defense, which is only allowing 88.6 points per game. Additionally, the Bucks are holding opponents to shooting only 41.2%, second best in the league. “I bring my energy on offense and defense, day in and day out. I use my energy and physical play to help motivate my teammates on the court.” That energy isn’t hard to miss. Outlaw leads the team in blocks and rebounds. “Other guys don’t like it? The NBA these days, too many guys are whining about hard fouls. If you don’t want to get hit, shoot 3s.” When asked if his tendency of hard fouling guys might have referees watching him more closely, Bo shrugged it off. “You can’t spell ‘boss’ without BO, ya erd? And the Boss is bringing pink slips.”