The 2016 edition of the Albert Schweitzer Tournament (AST) commences on 26 March 2016 in Mannheim and Viernheim, Germany. Basketball Australia Centre of Excellence head coach Adam Caporn will take some of Australia's best U18 talent to Europe as they look to secure a medal.
For Australian head coach Adam Caporn, he returns to a tournament that he played in back in 2000; a competition in which Caporn and Australia placed fourth. In speaking exclusively with The Pick and Roll, Caporn spoke glowingly of the opportunity the tournament presents, both to him and the next generation of Australian talent.
"It is a dream of mine [to coach Australia], and I am very passionate about the program we have," explained Caporn. "I am super excited that Australia is back in [the AST] to receive the opportunity [to play] that others have also received before them."
Kyle Zunic | Credit: Kangaroo Photos/Basketball Australia
The majority of the team comprises the current Centre of Excellence squad, however a few additions have been made to cover for injuries and ensure a competitive team.
"Unfortunately Jack White was too old, while Angus Glover is currently recovering from injury," added Caporn. "Pretty much everyone else is going, and it is quite a new group. Tom Fullarton is returning which is good news. But we are a new, young and exciting group - exciting in the sense that the group is well very rounded. I like the character, and toughness we have, and we are really in a good place as a group."
"We are young and inexperienced [at this level]. We have a range of ages, and we will have some young players, 1999 and 2000 guys as part of the team."
2016 Australian Emus
Name DOB Height Position Club Mate Colina 20.05.1999 208 cm Center BA CoE Isaac White 22.06.1998 182 cm Point Guard South Australia Kyle Zunic 04.03.1999 184 cm Point Guard BA CoE Matthew Kenyon 08.02.1998 195 cm Shotting Guard BA CoE Tom Fullarton 23.02.1999 200 cm Shooting Guard BA CoE Callum Dalton 04.05.2000 204 cm Center BA CoE Jacob Rigoni 10.12.1998 197 cm Small Forward South Australia Lat Mayen Nai 16.08.1998 200 cm Shooting Guard BA CoE Will Magnay 10.06.1998 204 cm Power Forward BA CoE Samson Froling 10.02.2000 207 cm Power Forward BA CoE Andrew Ferguson 17.09.1998 211 cm Center BA CoE Samuel Short 11.02.1998 196 cm Shooting Guard Victoria
With such a young team, Caporn clearly outlined the team's objective in taking part in the world-class tournament.
"We go there to compete; compete for pride and our country," shared Caporn. "However our primary objective is to get better and give the players an opportunity to experience playing international basketball."
"It is a great tournament, and it will be a really great life and learning experience for the team, and yet another chance to develop. It has played a large role in the development of [Australian] players previously, many have gone onto bigger and better things.
Australia has a rich history success in participating at the Albert Schweitzer tournament, and is just one of just 11 countries to have won the event. Mitch Creek was named Most Valuable Player as he guided Australia to the gold medal in 2010, a tournament in which he was joined in the all-tournament five by Jackson Aldridge and Hugh Greenwood on a loaded team. David Andersen also earned MVP honours back in 1998 when Australia claimed silver behind Spain, a tournament in which Bradley Sheridan also featured prominently. With two bronze medals in 1994 and 2008, Australia returns to the event for the first time since finishing 9th in 2012.
Australia won gold in 2010 behind tournament MVP Mitch Creek | Credit: Albert Schweitzer Tournament
Germany will be joined by reigning champion Italy, France, Greece, Serbia and Turkey as Europe's representatives in the tournament. 10-time event winner the USA (North America), Argentina (South America), Egypt (Africa), China and Japan (Asia) will also be participating alongside Australia as Oceania's representative in the field of 12 nations. The tournament will feature two groups of six teams, following which the top two teams of each group will progress to the semi finals.
Australia has been grouped in Pool A with Serbia, Argentina, Turkey, Germany and Japan. They have been scheduled to play the opening game of the tournament against Serbia, with their full schedule outlined below.
Australian Emus' Schedule
18 March: Depart for Germany
20 March - 26 March: Mini camp / exhibition games leading up to AST
27 March: AST - Mannheim, Australia vs Serbia (12:00am)
28 March: AST - Mannheim, Japan vs Australia (2:15am)
29 March: AST - Mannheim, Australia vs Argentina (2:15am)
31 March: AST - Mannheim, Turkey vs Australia (2:45am)
1 April: AST - Mannheim, Australia vs Germany (5:00am)
(all dates and times converted for AEDT)