Australian Boomers Head Coach Andrej Lemanis has opted for a blend of experience with youth in naming the final 12-man team for the 2014 FIBA World Cup in Spain.
The Australian Boomers for the 2014 FIBA World Cup: Courtesy Basketball Australia
The team that was announced this morning by Lemanis and Luc Longley is headlined by four of Australia's six NBA players, including 2014 Championship winning big man Aron Baynes and Cleveland's Matthew Dellavedova, but also 2014 NBA draft selections Dante Exum (Utah) and Cameron Bairstow (Chicago). Brock Motum (Virtus Bologna/Utah) and Chris Goulding (Zaragoza) who both impressed in NBA Summerleague have also been included in the team and both bring a scoring punch that the Boomers will need to draw upon in Spain.
Joining Australia's NBA representatives are a host of players who spent the last year in Europe, led by 2014 Euroleague champion Joe Ingles of Maccabi Tel Aviv. Gran Canaria who hosts all of Australia's Group D matches will be sure to support the Boomers with their star Australian swingman Brad Newley also included in the team. The team's elder statesmen is David Andersen, who after a stellar return from injury with Strasbourg may well be playing in his last major campaign for the Boomers. The sharp-shooting Ryan Broekhoff (Besiktas) has been provided an opportunity to atone for being the last man cut from the Boomers 2012 London Olympics team.
Despite not having played a game for more than 6 months due to injury, Nathan Jawai has also been added to the team. Jawai will bring size and presence in the paint while the lone representative from the NBL is Adam Gibson who earned the back-up point guard spot over Damian Martin.
Australian Boomers 2014 FIBA World Cup Team
David ANDERSEN | Strasbourg (France) Cameron BAIRSTOW | Chicago (NBA) Ryan BROEKHOFF | Besiktas (Turkey) Aron BAYNES | San Antonio (NBA) Matthew DELLAVEDOVA | Cleveland (NBA) Dante EXUM | Utah (NBA) Adam GIBSON | Adelaide (NBL) Chris GOULDING | Zaragoza (Spain) Joe INGLES | Maccabi Tel Aviv (Israel) Nathan JAWAI | Galatasaray (Turkey) Brock MOTUM | Virtus Bologna (Italy) Brad NEWLEY | Gran Canaria (Spain)
While Lemanis has opted for an internationally experienced core group in Andersen, Newley, Ingles, Baynes, Dellavedova and Gibson, the team however remains quite young. There is a distinct taste of the future, with Exum, Bairstow, Motum, Goulding and Broekhoff all set to experience a senior major campaign on the world stage for the first time.
Rising US High School phenom Ben Simmons was unable to make the final team, however he is still young and there remains plenty of time between now and the 2016 Rio Olympics. In fact with the make up of this team and with the possibility of adding the likes of current NBA players Patty Mills and Andrew Bogut plus the lies of Ben Simmons and Thon Maker to the team, 2016 and beyond could well see the Boomers enter a golden age and become a genuine medal contender for the next decade or more.
This is what Lemanis had to say on his team;
“Now that we have settled on a team, I look forward to building together over the next month,” Lemanis said.
“We all know there is plenty to be done to achieve the result we all desire. We also know we have the people, chemistry and talent to attack the challenge ahead with confidence.”
The Boomers depart for a tour of Europe on 5 August on a 9-game preparatory campaign in Lithuania where they will meet Group D opponents Lithuania and Slovenia. This is then followed by a game in Finland followed by games in France against France, Ukraine and the Philippines, and then further games against France and Finland.
The future is now, and this team selected for the World Cup is strong and full of players wanting to prove they can compete and beat the best the world has to offer. Is this the first step towards the Boomers bringing home that elusive medal? I am certainly encouraged to think so.
Australia opens the 2014 FIBA World Cup with a game against Slovenia in Gran Canaria, Spain on August 31 at 12.30am AEST live on ABC2 or online on FIBA's livebasketball.tv.