The basketball field for the men's and women's basketball events at the 2018 Commonwealth Games have been named.
Cameroon and Canada were announced as the final teams for the men's event which includes hosts Australia, England, India, New Zealand, Nigeria and Scotland. On the women's side, Canada and Jamaica were named to complete the field, joining Australia, England, India, Malaysia, Mozambique and New Zealand, with all teams having accepted invites which were endorsed by the International Basketball Federation (FIBA).
Commencing from 5 April 2018, 8 teams across both competitions will contest the basketball preliminaries in North Queensland, with the the men and women playing at the Townsville Entertainment and Convention Centre and Cairns Convention Centre. On 13 April 2018, the semifinals will be played back down the coast in South Queensland, with the Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Centre hosting the medal rounds.
FIBA Oceania Executive Director David Crocker was excited about the opportunity the Commonwealth Games presents for basketball.
"FIBA is excited to have the best teams from the Commonwealth competing at the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games in three great Basketball cities and communities," said Crocker in a statement.
"FIBA’s new competition system will see national team Basketball occurring every three months and the Commonwealth Games is another opportunity for the national team stars to shine on a global stage."
Australia will be looking to defend their gold medals earned at the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne, the one and only time basketball was included as an event.
"It’s been over a decade since Basketball’s first and only appearance at a Commonwealth Games – but I’ve no doubt it’ll be worth the wait when it delights the crowds in 2018," shared Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) President Louise Martin CBE.
Australia’s men and women will enter the Games as the highest world ranked teams, with the Boomers at #10 despite their fourth placing at the 2016 Rio Olympics, and the Opals at #4 according to FIBA.com. New Zealand at #20, Great Britain at #22 and Canada at #24 are the next best ranked teams in the men. However Great Britain will not be competing as a collective.
In the women’s competition, #6 ranked Canada is likely to pose a serious threat to the Opals, with African nation Mozambique next best at #26 (Great Britain is #21). New Zealand’s Tall Ferns are currently ranked #38.
Basketball Australia are set to send ‘Emerging’ teams to the Commonwealth Games. The event clashes with the NBA and European seasons which would be nearing the playoffs, while preparations for the WNBA season would be reaching fever pitch. The conflicting schedules therefore paves the way for the next generation of Boomers and Opals to make their mark and to pull on the green and gold which aligns with the current approach to the FIBA Asia Cup. While many of Australia’s top-level talent will be absent, they will not be alone, as every nation will be impacted in a similar fashion, and therefore FIBA's international rankings may count for very little.
With the fields now confirmed, it is expected that the finalised competition will be announced within the next month.