Boomers impress against Spain in closed-door scrimmage
Leading into the Rio Olympics, the Australian Boomers' form has been average, but one final tune-up may have gotten the Aussies into the shape they need to be to challenge for a medal.
According to Andrew Gaze, the Boomers looked mightily impressive against Spain --the second-ranked side in the FIBA rankings-- in a private scrimmage yesterday.
“Australia took on the two-time silver medal winning Spain yesterday, in a closed-door scrimmage,” Gaze said on SEN Radio.
“Clearly, Australia got the better of Spain. They looked sharp and the word coming out of it was Andrew Bogut was in rare form and transformed the entire offence and what they were doing on defence. He just had an enormous impact.
“I got the chance to speak to Joe Ingles and [Matthew] Dellavedova in an interview and they were sharing this information. I couldn’t believe how excited they were and pumped up about Andrew Bogut’s contributions in that particular game.
“They were glowing in what they did against Spain.”
Gaze believes there is no need to be worried about the Boomers heading into the Olympics, despite their uneven performances in their South American warm-up tour.
“No, not at all,” Gaze said, when asked if we should be concerned about the Boomers heading into their opening match against France on Sunday morning.
“They were still going through a process of developing their roles. Joe Ingles wasn’t there; Andrew Bogut didn’t play too much.
“They got their line-up together against China, minus Patty Mills and did a number on them. Beat them by 40 I think it was. It was extraordinary.”
The recent performances has Gaze, the flag bearer of the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games, optimistic about the Boomers chances at Rio.
“I’ve gone from being a little bit hesitant about where they sit, to being very buoyant about their prospects.”
Gaze also touched on the recent Twitter war between Bogut and Opals center, Liz Cambage, but revealed the situation wasn’t as serious as it was perceived to be.
“I actually heard there was no real problem between the two of them,” Gaze said of the issue.
“Not that it was necessarily all fun and games, but apparently, it wasn’t as vicious as what it might have seemed to the casual person reading their Twitter feed.”
Finally, Gaze told a humorous story about the Boomers' long travel to get to their practice stadium, which is just a couple of minutes away from the athlete’s village.
“As you exit the athlete’s village, [the Boomers practice facility] is approximately two minutes [drive] away and from their actual building, it is about a seven-to-eight minute walk,” Gaze said.
“For security reasons, one of the days they said they needed to catch the bus.
“Unfortunately, an hour and ten minutes later, they’re in some slum area, in fear for their lives, because [the bus driver] didn’t seem to know how to get there.
“He took a left when he should have taken a right. You think, oh well, I’m exaggerating here, but I kid you not. One hour and ten minutes in the bus, for something that’s a seven minute walk.”
One can only hope that the Boomers hire a new bus driver prior to their opening match against France, which tips-off at 3:15am on Sunday morning (AEST).