Basketball Australia announced a shortened 17-man list for the Boomers' selection camp today.
This updated roster excluded several players who recently represented Australia in the NBL All-Australian tour against China's national team, with names like Todd Blanchfield, Daniel Kickert, Mitch Norton, Lucas Walker and Clint Steindl being left out.
Given the focus on a medal this year, it can be seen that the Rio Boomers roster places a marked emphasis on veteran Boomers, with many having played in last year's Oceania series against New Zealand and also at the 2014 FIBA World Cup.
With that being said, one notable exception exists. Kevin Lisch --who was named the NBL's MVP and Best Defensive Player last season-- will be an invaluable addition to the Boomers roster. The Sydney guard's entry to the team was uncertain earlier, pending an Australian citizenship that has since been approved, and gives the team an additional playmaker who is a threat on both ends of the floor.
Boomers coach, Andrej Lemanis explained the coaching staff's decision-making process to a host of factors, including "current form, previously proven experience with the Boomers, previous performances in the campaign since 2013, a familiarity with the team and the systems as well as team balance.”
It might be necessary, but unfortunate, that Clint Steindl was cut from the roster this early. The 27 year old swingman --who also nabbed Most Improved Player honours this year-- displayed a matured skillset over 28 games with the Townsville Crocodiles. According to RealGM, Steindl averaged 12.7 points and 3.5 rebounds in 25.1 minutes per game, while continuing to maintain his three-point shooting at an excellent 39.2%. Being part of the Rio team might have meant valuable development opportunities for Steindl.
On the other hand, Ben Simmons' absence from the roster is no surprise, given his commitment to the upcoming NBA draft and the rigorous season ahead.
Exum's inclusion signals positive recovery pace
It's natural to assume that most of our current Australians playing in the NBA would make the team, but Dante Exum's inclusion shows that he is indeed making steady progress on his recovery. During a recent interview with Believe The Hype, Exum confirmed that he will be returning to full contact practice very soon.
Lemanis is optimistic, but warns that other boxes need to be checked, before we see Exum back in the green and gold this year.
“[Exum's] rehab is on track but there are still a few hurdles to overcome," Lemanis commented. "Dante needs to be confident he can handle the load of the campaign, the Jazz need to be comfortable with his involvement in the program and we all need to feel that his skill set is back to where it needs to be to compete on the world stage."
During his season exit interview with the Utah Jazz, Exum also talked about how Rio would be viewed as a suitable opportunity to shake the rust off, before the next NBA regular season begins.
“I think the biggest thing for me on the mental side is not to shy away from it just because I think I might get injured. I’m already defeating myself if I say that. So if I’m not ready, I’m not ready. But if I think I’m ready, and it’s a possibility [to be able to play for the Boomers], then I’ll do it.”
Training camp schedule
The training camp is due to be held in Melbourne, from 5 to 14 July. According to Lemanis, daily training sessions and practice games have been scheduled, and will build on the foundation that has been in place in recent years.
“We will work on our offensive and defensive frameworks and philosophies which are a continuation of what we have been doing in past years," coach Lemanis shared. "To that effect, this is where a familiarity with the team comes into play.”
2016 Australian Boomers selection camp squad
# NAME SURNAME CLUB STATE 1 David Andersen ASVEL (France) VIC Metro 2 Cameron Bairstow Chicago Bulls QLD South 3 Aron Baynes Detroit Pistons QLD North 4 Andrew Bogut Golden State Warriors VIC Metro 5 Ryan Broekhoff Lokomotiv Kuban (Russia) VIC Metro 6 Matthew Dellavedova Cleveland Cavaliers VIC Country 7 Dante Exum Utah Jazz VIC Metro 8 Adam Gibson Adelaide 36ers TAS 9 Cameron Gliddon Cairns Taipans WA 10 Chris Goulding Melbourne United QLD South 11 Joe Ingles Utah Jazz SA 12 Nathan Jawai Perth Wildcats QLD North 13 Kevin Lisch Illawarra Hawks USA 14 Damian Martin Perth Wildcats NSW Country 15 Patrick Mills San Antonio Spurs ACT 16 Brock Motum Zalgiris Kaunas (Lithuania) QLD South 17 Brad Newley Gran Canaria (Spain) SA