Basketball Australia have announced the Boomers side who will contest the first two games of the FIBA world Cup Asian Qualifiers, once again comprising entirely of current NBL players.
After storming their way to a debut 2017 FIBA Asia Cup victory, the side is once again powered by current NBL talent, with 9 returning from that successful campaign.
Rio Olympians Chris Goulding and Damian Martin have been included in the side along with Adelaide 36ers star Nathan Sobey. Making way from the FIBA Asian Cup championship side is veteran David Andersen, Mitch Norton and Todd Blanchfield. The inclusion of Goulding, Martin and Sobey arguably makes the Boomers more potent than from the side earlier in the year.
“The quality of talent that we have to select from is pleasing and reflects on the healthy state of Australian basketball as well as the NBL,” said Boomers coach Andrej Lemanis in the official release.
“There are a lot of players putting their hand up for selection and, in the end, we have tried to keep some continuity from the FIBA Asia Cup as well as adding two Rio Olympians.”
Lemanis went on to add that the broader squad of 24 remain available during the coming month and beyond as the Boomers take aim at qualifying for the 2019 FIBA World Cup.
“The depth of the squad is important because over the course of this campaign the squad needs to remain fluid in terms of players coming in and out,” further added Lemanis. “With this new format, we have the ability to alter the team between game one and game two of each window, as well as for the future windows.
"Injuries and form will play their part and the willingness of players to step in to wear the green and gold and play in the manner honouring the legacy of the singlet at a moment’s notice is critical to our overall chance of success.
"I cannot over emphasise the importance of everyone in the squad – they are all contributing to the success of the team.”
Australia's growing number of NBA, European and NCAA stars are not available for selection due to the constraints of distance and timing.
In the new FIBA world cup qualification process, Australia has been grouped with Chinese Taipei, Japan and the Philippines as part of the Asian Qualifying stage. The Boomers will first head to Chinese Taipei for their first game on 24 November before a blockbuster game scheduled for Adelaide against Japan on 27 November. All sides will play each other twice on a home-away basis.
The Boomers defeated both sides at the FIBA Asia Cup on their way to capturing title, thrashing Chinese Taipei 90-50, while accounting for Japan in their tournament opener 84-68. With national team basketball to be played more consistently on home soil, the importance of the home clash in Adelaide was not lost on Lemanis.
“It’s our first game of real consequence on home soil since the 2015 Olympic qualifiers,” said Lemanis. “It’s a great opportunity for the Adelaide fans to come out and see the national team. Adelaide fans are always vocal and passionate and know their basketball so it’s going to be fun for sure.”
Australian basketball fans will be able to watch every Boomers game broadcast live via FOX Sports Australia in the lead up to the 2019 FIBA World Cup as well as the World Cup itself via Foxtel.
Boomers FIBA World Cup Asia Qualifiers
24 November 2017: Chinese Taipei vs Australia (Away) 27 November 2017: Australia vs. Japan at Adelaide (Home) 22 February 2018: Australia vs Philippines TBA (Home) 25 February 2018: Australia vs Chinese Taipei TBA (Home) 29 June 2018: Japan vs Australia (Away) 2 July 2017: Philippines vs Australia (Away)
Australian Boomers Team
Angus Brandt | Perth Wildcats Jason Cadee | Sydney Kings Mitch Creek | Adelaide 36ers Cameron Gliddon | Cairns Taipans Chris Goulding | Melbourne United Matt Hodgson | Adelaide 36ers Nick Kay | Illawarra Hawks Daniel Kickert | Brisbane Bullets Damian Martin | Perth Wildcats Mitch McCarron | Cairns Taipans Brad Newley | Sydney Kings Nathan Sobey | Adelaide 36ers