Fast approaching 12 months on, and it still stings.
The Boomers heartbreaking loss to Spain in the Olympic bronze medal game still sits heavy in the hearts of Australian basketball fans. What made it worse was the way it happened. But let’s not dwell on what we sadly cannot change. Where to now for the Australian men’s basketball team, and those that were in Rio?
The next major tournament is not until the 2019 FIBA World Cup in China, while the next Olympics will take place in Tokyo in 2020. The World Cup will be incredibly important for the Boomers. With a change in qualification process for major tournaments, their World Cup performance could decide if they feature in the next edition of the Olympics.
Adding to this will be the likely inclusion of several or more fresh faces in the squad. Potential changes in the big man department are of particular note.
Boomers stalwart Dave Andersen wouldn’t surprise many people by suiting up across 2019/2020. However, he will be 38-years old by the time the World Cup comes around. Thus it is unlikely that the wily veteran will appear in that tournament, and therefore the same could be said for the Tokyo Olympics.
— 7Olympics (@7olympics) August 12, 2016
The Frankston local may go down as one of the most underrated players in the history of the Boomers program.
He has played in both the Under 19 and Under 21 World Championships, and twice in the senior version of the competition. He is also a four-time Olympian. Not only that, Andersen has continually showed his scoring talent, and his ability to knock down crucial shots in big games.
It would be amazing to see him play once again in the Green and Gold, but if it is the end, cheers to you David Andersen!
Andrew Bogut is another whose Boomers tenure may have sadly come to an end. Currently aged 32, the NBA free agent showed just how good he can be in the green and gold in Rio. He has however had an unfortunate run of injuries. Thus Rio may well have been the last time we ever see him playing for the Boomers.
— 7Olympics (@7olympics) August 17, 2016
Despite Bogut receiving some criticism for missing certain international tournaments, his passion for his country is clearly on show whenever he takes the court with the Boomers. If there are any doubts about this, watch his interview after Australia’s shattering loss to Spain in the bronze medal game.
— 7Olympics (@7olympics) August 21, 2016
We hope that both of these stars continue to play for the Boomers, but if they don’t, lets take a look to the future.
There are some new names – and big names they are fast becoming!
— Milwaukee Bucks (@Bucks) April 13, 2017
The Milwaukee Buck showed serious talent and maturity beyond his years in his side’s playoff run. Maker played crucial minutes, acting as a defensive anchor, and at times, a scoring threat for Jason Kidd. He has incredible potential, with improvement likely to come in droves.
Most Australian basketball fans are hoping Ben Simmons decides to play as much as he possibly can with the Boomers. The number one draft pick last played for Australia in 2013, however has expressed the want to play for his country in the future. Despite his height, Simmons style of play suggests it is unlikely he will play bulk minutes at the four or five position for his nation.
Isaac Humphries, who recently decided to turn pro, is another name that could feature regularly for the Boomers. Playing under Coach Calipari at Kentucky, the New South Welshman looks to have developed his game well despite limited opportunities. There has been debate surrounding his decision to leave college early, however it should hold him in good stead in regards to his international career.
Saint Mary’s looks to have produced another Australian international player in Jock Landale. The 6’11 Victorian had a career year in college, averaging 16.9 points, and 9.5 rebounds per game (full stats). He is an incredible back-to-the-basket player, and also has elite level vision and passing skills for a big man. Given how Andrej Lemanis used Andrew Bogut in the Olympics, he would place well in the current system.
A final player, who has the potential to also be a pivotal big in the Boomers’ program, is Jonah Bolden. Son of NBL legend Bruce, the youngster has declared for this year’s NBA draft. He recently spent time in Serbia, averaging 12.9 points, and 7.2 rebounds per game.
I wouldn't be surprised, at all, if Jonah Bolden ends up being a first rounder. His upside is enormous pic.twitter.com/xICzF1z87p
— Olgun Uluc (@OlgunUluc) January 10, 2017
Bolden’s athleticism and versatility at the power forward position is incredible. It could become a very useful tool for Andrej Lemanis and the Boomers’ staff. Just recently he spoke to The Pick and Roll about his career, and NBA hopes, find the full article here.
Yes, Rio was heartbreaking, and the Boomers could undergo some changes before the 2019 World Cup. However, hopefully it is an experience that will better the players involved and the coaching staff.
With great talent still in the system, and some fantastic young names coming through, hopes for the Boomers should remain at a high.