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Boomers squad holds no fear of Team USA
151 days remain, before the Olympic flame is lit. The Boomers have named their initial squad of 26 players for Rio, and have made it abundantly clear that they fear no one.
The storyline behind this roster is consistency, as it features all players who competed in the 2014 FIBA World Cup and the 2015 FIBA Oceania Championships.
“It is a benefit to have a group that has spent time together both on and off the court," shared Andrej Lemanis. "That group went through a campaign together and a majority of that group also went to the World Championships which will certainly help in our preparation."
The squad, as usual, features strong talent from overseas leagues, but also sees the inclusion of 13 NBL players. One of those playing locally is Kevin Lisch, pending his naturalisation. One obvious name that is missing however, is athletic center AJ Ogilvy. The Illawarra Hawks star is seemingly out of favour with selectors, despite being one of the top 5 players in NBL this past season.
Despite the unlikeliness of Dante Exum recovering from his knee injury in time, all 7 Australian NBA players have been included in the squad. Even if Exum were to recover, the Utah Jazz are likely to make it difficult or discourage him from taking part.
In speaking with journalist Roy Ward, Cavaliers star Matthew Dellavedova was asked about the inclusion of the Jazz point guard in the extended squad.
"He is hoping he can be ready, but it will be for Andrej, Dante, the Jazz and medical staff to talk about," outlined Dellavedova.
One of the major talking points is the fact that Ben Simmons is the only college player included in the squad. Eastern Washington's Venky Jois, who just recently broke his school's all time scoring record, along with Boise State's Anthony Drmic were both unlucky to miss out in what would have been selections with a view to the future.
There is still a question over the potential availability of Simmons for the Olympics. In a recent chat with Damian Arsenis, Lemanis spoke of his contact with the LSU star.
"With Ben and his family, I will sit down with them and assess the situation," explained Lemanis. "If there are any obstacles we will try and work out what we can potentially do to overcome them."
In speaking with the Herald Sun's Jon Ralph, Lemanis went on to outline that his crop of NBA stars have no fear of the USA or their host of stars.
"A natural outcome of immersing yourself in an environment [like the NBA] is those guys become another opponent," Lemanis shared. "You aren’t in awe of them at all."
“For Delly (Matthew Dellavedova), LeBron James is his teammate, not some guy who is the MVP of the NBA," Lemanis expressed. “For Andrew Bogut, Steph Curry is just his teammate and that puts you in a better position to compete against them if indeed we do play them.”
The squad will be cut down to 16 for the July 5 - 10 training camp - the one and only time the squad will assemble - and then finally the 12-man roster will be announced. It is clear the focus is on the now, with the Boomers' eyes set firmly on Olympic gold.
Australian Boomers Preliminary Olympic Squad
David Andersen | ASVEL Lyon-Villeurbanne (France) Cameron Bairstow | Chicago Bulls (US) Aron Baynes | Detroit Pistons (US) Todd Blanchfield | Melbourne United Andrew Bogut | Golden State Warriors (US) Angus Brandt | Sydney Kings Ryan Broekhoff | Lokomotiv Kuban (Russia) Mitch Creek | Adelaide 36ers Matthew Dellavedova | Cleveland Cavaliers (US) Dante Exum | Utah Jazz (US) Adam Gibson | Adelaide 36ers Cameron Gliddon | Cairns Taipans / AZS Koszalin (Poland) Chris Goulding | Melbourne United / Auxilium Torino (Italy) Joe Ingles | Utah Jazz (US) Nathan Jawai | Perth Wildcats Daniel Kickert | Melbourne United Kevin Lisch* | Illawarra Hawks Aleks Maric | Buducnost Podgorica (Montenegro) Damian Martin | Perth Wildcats Patrick Mills | San Antonio Spurs (US) Brock Motum | Zalgiris Kaunas (Lithuania) Brad Newley | Gran Canaria (Spain) Mitch Norton | Townsville Crocodiles Ben Simmons | Louisiana State University (US) Clint Steindl | Townsville Crocodiles Lucas Walker | Adelaide 36ers
The Boomers' Rio campaign - schedule of events
5 July 2016: Boomers selection camp
20 July 2016: Argentina training camp, with exhibition games against Argentina and Lithuania
26 July 2016: Brazil (Sao Paulo), 3 game exhibition tournament
1 August 2016: Arrive in Rio Olympic Games Village
5 August 2016: Rio Olympic Games commence