RIO DE JANEIRO -- Australian Olympic team members were forced to evacuate their lodgings on Friday at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics after a small fire in a basement parking area caused smoke to fill the stairwells.Australian team spokesman Mike Tancred said about 100 athletes and officials were evacuated from their building in the sprawling athletes village. The compound contains 31 buildings and will accommodate 18,000 athletes and officials at the peak of the games, which open in a week.The stairwells filled with smoke, but the fire was confined to the carpark and no one was injured, Tancred said in a statement.The fire will once again draw attention to Rios spotty preparations, which have been marred by the Zika virus, severe water pollution, crime, and slow ticket sales.Tancred said team members returned to their rooms after 30 minutes.This comes after a tension-filled week in which Australia refused to occupy its building, citing gas and plumbing leaks, electrical shorts, and general filth. At least a dozen other teams also complained of problems that affected about 400 of the 3,600 rooms in the sprawling compound.Rio officials on Thursday declared the compound fully ready after deploying hundreds of plumbers and electricians, who worked around the clock to ready the buildings.Australia finally moved staff and athletes into the village on Wednesday, three days after the official opening on Sunday.Rio Mayor Eduardo Paes on Wednesday met Australian delegation head Kitty Chiller and apologized to dozens of athletes for the slipshod preparations.---Stephen Wade on Twitter: http://twitter.com/StephenWadeAP . His work can be found at http://bigstory.ap.org/content/stephen-wade Air Max Plus Store . Anthony Calvillo, through 20 CFL seasons, was frequently invincible and largely stoic in the heat of competition. But underneath the professional exterior he was, and is, compellingly human. 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Luc Longley waited to hear his name called.The first six picks had already been selected. Future All-Stars Larry Johnson, Kenny Anderson and Steve Smith were already off the board. Only one non-American, future Hall of Famer Dikembe Mutombo, was among the first group of players chosen.Still, Longley waited.Then NBA commissioner David Stern strode out on the stage and began: With the seventh pick in the 1991 draft, the Minnesota Timberwolves select Luc Longley from the University of New Mexico.History was made. Longley became the first Australian selected in the first round of the NBA draft (and soon would become the first Aussie to play in the league). He kissed his girlfriend, hugged his family and walked up to shake hands with Stern. The whole time he was confident that the floodgates had just opened for Australian basketball players within the professional American ranks.I genuinely did, because I thought if I could do it, anyone could do it, remembers Longley. Because it hadnt been done before, I thought it was an insurmountable mountain. Once I actually got there [the NBA], I went, Wow, that wasnt actually that hard.It may not have been that hard for a 7-foot-2 center, but for many years Longley was Australias sole representative in the worlds best league. It took another six years for the next Aussie to be drafted; for the better part of the late 90s to the early 2000s, Longley was the keeper of the flame for an entire nations basketball community.Sure, Australia produced world-class players, but none of them really established themselves in the NBA. A season or two here and there, a couple of 10-day contracts -- as Longley won multiple championships after moving to the Chicago Bulls, his compatriots struggled to find their footing.He may have wondered when the winds of change would blow through. It wasnt until 2005, when the Milwaukee Bucks selected Andrew Bogut with the top overall pick.Fast forward to todays NBA.At least one Australian has played in every NBA Finals since 2013, while Patty Mills, Aron Baynes, Matthew Dellavedova and Bogut have joined Longley as owners of championship rings.Per the NBA, eight Australians -- an all-time high -- populate current rosters: Bogut (Dallas Mavericks), Dellavedova (Milwaukee Bucks), Mills (San Antonio Spurs), Baynes (Detroit Pistons),?Kyrie Irving?(Cleveland Cavaliers),?Joe Ingles (Utah Jazz), Dante Exum (Jazz) and 2016 No. 1 draft pick?Ben Simmons (Philadelphia 76ers). (Irving was born in Australia, moved to the United States when he was 2 years old and holds dual citizenship.) In addition to the eight Aussie-born players, rookie?Thon Maker (Bucks), who was born in South Sudan, grew up in Australia before relocating to North America for high school.Bogut is now the seasoned veteran, while Simmons is pegged as a future star once he returns from a foot injury. And only three countries outside the U.S. have a larger NBA contingent than Australia.The recent ascent of Australian players may seem to have come out of nowhere, but its actually been years in the making.Brett Brown, the 76ers fourth-year head coach, began his pro coaching career in Australias top domestic league, the NBL. He would go on to coach Australia at two Olympic Games and is as familiar with the basketball landscape Down Under as anyone.That whole scene was very new to me, too [back then], Brown says. So when you say to me, am I surprised? Yes, I am.But Im not surprised in the light of day when you can justify or think through why its happened. Then it doesnt surprise me.To get a firm grasp of where this explosion of Australian basketball talent comes from, one must examine the advancement of coaching methods and development in the junior ranks and, in particular, at the Australian Institute of Sport.Founded in 1981 and located in the national capital of Canberra, the AIS has served as the countrys strategic high-performance sports agency.The AIS has had a hand in developing seven of the eight Aussies currently in the NBA. Since 2002, eight NBA draft picks have gone through the AIS -- including Bogut, Exum, Mills and Simmons -- while Dellavedova, Ingles and Baynes spent time there as juniors.I think [the AIS has beenn] very important, Longley says.dddddddddddd It really exposed me to high-level training and high-level recovery and high-level accountability to what youre doing. The perception originally was that international players were a bit amateur and loose, and the AIS certainly helped resolve that. Its also been a lightning rod for scouts to scout there and see at least some of the cream of the crop.Kids come out of the AIS -- and Delly might be the best example -- and they are very professional and easy to get along with in the locker room. That has endeared a lot of Australian players to coaches. Theyre a good, strong link in the chain in that regard.Exum, who decided to forgo the American college system before entering the NBA draft in 2014, says his time at the AIS was instrumental in helping him make the transition to the professional game.The AIS has definitely played a huge part in it, Exum says. Just being put into a professional environment at a young age helped me. I was there from 15, and it made [me] focus all on basketball -- getting shots, getting into a professional routine. Youre going against the best kids every day.Brown emphasizes that coaches have played a vital role in developing the current crop of Aussie NBA players. The world has gotten smaller, and coaches have better access to materials online.How can you not credit coaches when it comes to this discussion? he says. Im talking right across the board ... very prideful coaches that are highly competitive, highly studied; [coaches] that are really trying to do the right thing in relation to improving themselves, improving the game. That collision of coaching and opportunities for kids to play is massive.The opportunities to play that Brown speaks of shouldnt be overlooked. In a 2014 National Sports Participation report, it was noted that 30.5 percent of Australian kids ages 6-13 participated in basketball.It was a real conscientious effort -- driven by [longtime NBL and Australian national team coach] Lindsay Gaze -- to produce opportunities where people could simply play, Brown says. Once you had the registered basketball players with multiple opportunities to play in [multicourt] stadiums all year around, I think that, just through probability, you were bound to produce more talent.Exum echoes Browns sentiments: You see with the American kids they have such a large pool to choose from, kids are just going to get better and better because theyre going against better opponents, playing more games, and I think thats starting to happen in Australia. Theres more interest in the game, the NBA is really growing and people want to play.That interest will likely continue to produce the next crop of NBA-quality players.Simmons is being heralded as a potential franchise star, and Maker, a still-raw talent, will be given every opportunity to become a factor in Milwaukee. Looking even further ahead, there are 63 Australians suiting up for NCAA teams this season.The days of Australians heading primarily to smaller colleges appear to be over as well, with many of the more highly touted players being courted by leading Division I schools.Weve always had the talent down in Australia, its just [about] being seen, Exum says. The gateway is starting to open up for us. You have Isaac Humphries at Kentucky, Jack White has gone to Duke, even Jack McVeigh at Nebraska. Theres a few kids at college programs that are going to hopefully rise up, and when they get to that senior [level] they can dominate the program and be seen by scouts.While the pump seems primed for more Australians to make it to the NBA, the first player to make the jump takes pride in what already has been accomplished by his countrymen.Certainly the doors are open, but who knows how much talent is going to get coughed up? Its the X factor, Longley says. We might go another generation and not have another kid. ... There are some talented kids out there, [but] I do also think were having a golden patch at the moment.Its a golden era, theres no doubt, in terms of the young talent being produced. ' ' '