Ex-Baltimorean Loggins keeping up Down Under Australian basketball gains medal round


BARCELONA, Spain -- He was born in Baltimore. He plays for the Bullets. He even got married at the harbor. But Leroy Loggins hardly qualifies as hometown hero.

Loggins, 34, isn't a playground legend in Baltimore, he's a member of the Australian men's Olympic basketball team.

He plays for the Bullets all right -- the ones in Brisbane. And he got married at the harbor all right -- the one in Sydney.

Who is this guy?

Loggins said he played only two games at Forest Park High in the mid-1970s before quitting because of a lack of playing time.

Now he's a 6-foot-5 forward for the national team of his adopted country, and yesterday he scored 16 points in 19 minutes in Australia's 98-87 loss to Lithuania. The Australians advance to tomorrow's quarterfinals vs. Croatia.

Leroy Loggins, Aussie.

This requires an explanation.

After graduating from Forest Park, Loggins spent two years at the Community College of Baltimore. He then transferred to Fairmont State (W.Va.) College, a National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics school.

Not the usual path to Australian citizenship, but Loggins made an NAIA all-star team his first year at Fairmont. The team toured Australia. He loved it.

"I had such a great time," Loggins recalled yesterday, speaking in a distinctly Australian accent. "I made a lot of friends. I thought I'd come back and play."

It didn't happen immediately, because Loggins completed his final year at Fairmont, then tried out for the Detroit Pistons after being picked in the eighth round of the 1980 NBA draft.

Loggins never played in the NBA, but he became a three-time Australian League MVP and eight-time all-star, winning two league titles with Brisbane and one with West Adelaide.

Now he's on the same Olympic team as Andrew Gaze (Seton Hall) and Luc Longley (New Mexico). Loggins is averaging 10.6 points, and Australia (3-2) has qualified for the medal round.

Loggins said his parents still live in north Baltimore, but he returns only to visit. He committed to staying in his new country two years ago when he married a native Australian.

"I miss my family, but I quite enjoy the lifestyle I have in Australia," Loggins said. "It's totally different than Baltimore -- more tropical, with more beaches.

"The good part about it is, they're known for seafood. I get crabs there, stuff like that."

Leroy Loggins, Aussie. From Baltimore to Brisbane to Barcelona.

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