The 2018 Albert Schweitzer Tournament (AST) that will once again be hosted by Mannheim and Viernheim, Germany is scheduled to tip-off on 31 March. Basketball Australia will be sending some of the country's best under 18 talent as they look to take on the world's rising stars under the guidance of Michael Cassidy.
Australia's roster is loaded, with a host of players who have starred for their state and their country at junior level already, with the side set to take aim at winning their first Albert Schweitzer Tournament in 2010 after finishing 7th when it was last held in 2016.
Two of Australia's three participants at the 2018 Basketball Without Borders Global event at NBA All-Star weekend feature, with Virginia commit Kody Stattmann and Alexander Ducas named to the team. Joining Stattmann and Ducas is Queensland's rising star Samson Froling. All three were in the top 5 for scoring at the 2018 Australian U20 Championships. That tournament was won by Victoria, with Keli Leaupepe playing a starring role.
A dynamic scorer, Stattmann averaged an impressive 21.7 points per game and was 2nd in scoring at the 2018 U20 nationals. He was followed closely by Froling's 19.7 points (4th) and Ducas' 19.5 points (5th) per game. The leading scorer at the U20 tournament was Saint Mary's commit Alex Mudronja, however he was too old to be selected for the Albert Schweitzer Tournament (13.09.1999).
The Australian side features eight returning players from the under 17 Australian national team that steamrolled their way to the 2017 FIBA Oceania U17 title. Led by Stattmann's 31 points per game, Australia averaged a whopping 142.6 points, 27 steals, and a winning margin of 104.2 points per game (Team Statistics) en-route to the championship. Froling, Callum Dalton, Aiden Krause, Joshua Gatbel, Isaiah Lee, Kyle Bowen and Leaupepe all starred in the whitewash event. They are sure to find the Albert Schweitzer opposition a lot more challenging, with a tough field awaiting them.
Australia has been grouped with hosts Germany, but also fellow European powerhouse Turkey and traditional South American contenders Argentina. Israel and fellow Asian zone arch rivals Japan round out a strong Group A. Joining a USA Select team in Group B are strong European countries France, Italy and Russia, with China and Egypt rounding out the field.
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 what was 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. Australian has also won two bronze medals in 1994 and 2008.
With such a talented and promising roster, the 2018 edition of the event which tips off on 31 March, could be Australia's best chance to win since 2010.
Australian U18 Team
Name / DOB / Height / Position / Club Isaiah LEE / 10.04.2000 / 184cm / Guard / BA CoE Aiden KRAUSE / 25.10.2000 / 192cm / Guard / BA CoE Keli LEAUPEPE / 04.06.2000 / 196cm / Forward / Bulleen Boomers Alexander DUCAS / 11.12.2000 / 197cm / Guard / BA CoE Hunter GOODRICK / 24.02.2000 / 201cm / Guard/Forward / BA CoE Kody STATTMANN / 09.06.2000 / 202cm / Guard / BA CoE Joshua GATBEL / 11.11.2000 / 203cm / Guard/Forward / BA CoE Kyle BOWEN / 06.10.2000 / 203cm / Guard/Forward / BA CoE Blake JONES / 28.02.2002 / 204cm / Forward / South West Metro Pirates Samson FROLING / 20.02.2000 / 211cm / Forward / BA CoE Callum DALTON / 04.05.2000 / 207cm / Forward / BA CoE
Head Coach: Michael Cassidy
Australia's 2018 Albert Schweitzer Tournament Schedule (all times AEST)
Sunday, 1 April | vs Argentina @ 1:15am Sunday, 1 April | vs Israel @ 11:00pm Monday, 2 April | vs Japan @ 11:00pm Thursday, 5 April | vs Germany @ 4:00am Thursday, 5 April | vs Turkey 11:30pm Friday, 6 April | Finals commence from 9:15pm
The semifinals and playoff for gold and bronze will be live streamed (stay tuned to social media for details)