The Boomers squad for the 2016 Rio Olympic games has been named by Basketball Australia ahead of the Farewell Series against the Pac-12 College All-Stars on Tuesday and Thursday at Hisense Arena in Melbourne.
The injured Andrew Bogut was included while Boomers veteran Brad Newley was omitted.
As expected, the Boomers have named a strong side that includes NBA players Matthew Dellavedova (Cleveland/Milwaukee), Andrew Bogut (Golden State/Dallas), Patty Mills (San Antonio) Aron Baynes (Detroit), Joe Ingles (Utah) and Cameron Bairstow (Chicago/Detroit). Only Dante Exum (Utah), who is returning from injury, and 2016 top-10 NBA Draft selections Ben Simmons (Philadelphia) and Thon Maker (Milwaukee) were not included as they were unavailable for selection.
Head coach Andrej Lemanis included Bogut despite his battle to recover from injury in time for the games. The most notable omission being Boomers veteran and new Sydney King Brad Newley who was left out in favour of naturalised Sydney King Kevin Lisch and Perth Wildcats star Damian Martin. The team includes three players from the Australian NBL, with Melbourne United's Chris Goulding also set to make his Olympic debut.
Also selected to the team are a host of fringe or former NBA players, including Euroleague Final Four star Ryan Broekhoff (Lokomotiv Kuban), French champion David Andersen (ASVEL Lyon-Villeurbanne) and Lithuanian champion Brock Motum (Zalgiris Kaunas).
Veteran Andersen will be attending his fourth Olympic games, while Mills and Ingles will be attending their third.
Newley has been one of Australia's shining lights for the Boomers and in playing in Europe over the best part of a decade, most recently playing with Herbalife Gran Canaria in the acclaimed Spanish ACB (Liga Endesa) and Eurocup competition with great success. After 2 Olympic and 3 FIBA World Cup campaigns with the Boomers dating back to 2006 following his debut in winning gold in the Commonwealth Games, Newley's omission from what would have been his final Olympic campaign comes as somewhat of a shock. However the team selection and the Green and Gold scrimmage clearly highly that Lemanis is looking to play a full court game in Rio. Lisch and Martin, who are both NBL Defensive Player of the Year recipients, have been favoured to be able to better execute on that plan rather than Newley.
For the two-time NBL MVP Lisch, it will be his first campaign with the Boomers as naturalised Australian, while Martin, who has so long been on the edge of selection in recent years, has forced his way into the side and will make their Olympic debuts.
Lemanis and the rest of the Boomers veterans have made it clear that their objective for Rio is to win a medal, one that they hope will be gold. Bogut's ability to play in Rio could well be determining factor as to how successful that ambition will be, with Lemanis confirming that his ability to play in Rio was not yet clear.
"It's just a day by day proposition at this stage," said Lemanis.
Sources suggest that new Sydney King Aleks Maric will continue to work with the team ahead of Rio as the backup to Bogut if he does not recover in time but has not been officially confirmed. Lemanis can replace an injured player by 5 August when the final team must be submitted for the Olympic tournament.
The first time fans can get a chance to watch the Boomers Olympic team play is against the Pac-12 College All-Stars at Melbourne's Hisense Arena on Tuesday and Thursday this week. Both games will be shown LIVE on FOX Sports Australia from 7:30pm AEST next week. However fans attending the game should arrive early to watch the Australian Rollers, who will head to the Paralympics in September as the world champions, in a clash against a team of All-Stars from the National Wheelchair Basketball League (NWBL).
2016 Australian Boomers Olympic Team
David Andersen (ASVEL Lyon-Villeurbanne/France)
Cameron Bairstow (Detroit Pistons/NBA)
Aron Baynes (Detroit Pistons/NBA)
Brock Motum (Zalgiris Kaunas/Lithuania)
Andrew Bogut (Golden State Warriors/NBA)
Joe Ingles (Utah Jazz/NBA)
Ryan Broekhoff (Lokomotiv Kuban/Russia)
Matthew Dellavedova (Cleveland Cavaliers/NBA)
Chris Goulding (Melbourne United/NBL)
Patty Mills (San Antonio Spurs/NBA)
Damian Martin (Perth Wildcats/NBL)
Kevin Lisch (Sydney Kings/NBL)
Head Coach: Andrej Lemanis