The Australian U17 Men’s squad has been selected ahead of the FIBA Oceania U17 Championship, tipping off on the 15th of August in Silverstream, New Zealand.
This tournament will see Australia face Tahiti, New Caledonia and New Zealand, with the winner of the event qualifying for the 2016 FIBA U17 World Championship.
Australian U17 Men’s Squad
Patrick Bines – VIC
Mate Colina – VIC
Lachlan Dent – NSW
Dragan Elkaz – NSW
Benjamin Fakira – NSW
Sam Froling – QLD
Tom Fullarton – QLD
Bailey Griffiths – VIC
Matthew Johns – VIC
Alexander Mudronja – SA
Jordan Starr – San Diego, CA
Kyle Zunic – NSW
Emergencies: Brady Armstrong (TAS), Callum Dalton (QLD), Ky Matthews-Hampton (SA), Ryan Runnalls (QLD)
The gold medal match – should they qualify – will be played as a curtain-raiser to the FIBA Oceania Championship game between the Boomers and the Tall Blacks on August 18.
Mark Watkins will return as the head coach of the men’s squad after a successful run in 2014, winning a silver medal at the event in Dubai, UAE.
NSW Country was the winner of last year’s U16’s Australian Junior Championships, with two players from that squad chosen for this team – Lachlan Dent and Kyle Zunic. NSW Metro wasn’t expected to perform well at the event but surprised a lot of people by putting together some great performances, led by shooting guard, Dragan Elkaz. Big-man Benjamin Fakira rounds out the NSW invitees after a very decent showing at this year’s U16’s Australian Junior Championships.
As always, the state of Victoria has a large contingent of athletes selected to this squad. Patrick Bines has had an impressive year, competing for VIC Metro in both the U16’s and U18’s tournament. He’s joined by Mate Colina and Bailey Griffiths, while Matthew Johns was the sole VIC Country athlete chosen for the team.
Tom Fullarton will likely be the primary player amongst this group, having already competed at an extremely high level. The 6’5 wing out of Queensland participated in last year’s adidas Nations Global eventand has performed well as a member of the Centre of Excellence squad during SEABL action this year. Another Queenslander who was selected was Sam Froling (brother of Harry, Alicia and Keely Froling). Froling is coming off of a very impressive performance at this year’s U16’s Australian Junior Championship, leading his Queensland North side to a gold medal finish.
Froling will likely be the primary big heading into this tournament, especially due to the surprising omission of fellow Queensland big-man Callum Dalton.
Alexander Mudronja rounds out the guard selections for the team, with the high IQ point guard the only South Australian selection.
6’5 small forward, Jordan Starr, who has made the trips back and forth to Australia, from San Diego, in order to participate in the training camps, is an intriguing prospect to look at heading into the tournament. He currently attends Foothills Christian High School in San Diego, California and has been performing well in the San Diego AAU circuit.
Starr was also lucky enough to be on the same flight as Australian Boomer – and Utah Jazz forward – Joe Ingles, when flying to Australia for the final training camp.
Australia has performed well at the FIBA U17 World Championship in recent years. Dante Exum and Ben Simmons led the 2012 squad to a silver medal, while Isaac Humphries and Dejan Vasiljevic were the key players for the 2014 squad’s silver-medal run.
For more information on the athletes selected (height, club, etc), visit our Aussie High School Prospects: Men’s list.