The memories of a heartbreaking Rio campaign still lingers in the hearts of Australians everywhere. Nevertheless, the Australian Boomers are on the road to redemption with their FIBA Asia Cup debut, and it's up to veterans David Andersen and Brad Newley, who will lead the Boomers this time.
With a number of NBA and Europe-based stars unavailable for the event, the evergreen Andersen --fresh off a season with the NBL's Melbourne United and France's ASVEL Lyon-Villeurbanne-- remains the lone representative from Australia's last Olympic campaign.
Despite the absence of Australia's best players, Ryan Broekhoff is confident the NBL-heavy Boomers can lift their first FIBA Asia Cup high, and put Australia on the road to the their next checkpoint: the qualification process 2019 FIBA World Cup.
"I absolutely have confidence in the NBL guys." said Broekhoff in speaking exclusively with The Pick and Roll.
"I feel like the guys can do really well - they will do a fantastic job. I am sure they will perform well and represent our country with pride."
Broekhoff was also constantly amazed, yet not surprised by the 37-year-old Andersen's ability to keep playing at such a high level.
"It’s amazing how Dave [Andersen] keeps going," added Broekhoff. "But really, it all comes down to his preparation and how he takes care of himself – his preparation is really second to none."
Andersen is joined by another veteran Olympian in Brad Newley on the Boomers' FIBA Asian Cup team. Newley, who was one of the last players cut from the Rio side, will provide the leadership for a relatively inexperienced Boomers team, one that has been tasked to take care of what Broekhoff calls, 'unfinished business.'
"It's been pretty much one year since Rio, and even now it still hurts. For me personally, it feels like unfinished business. I think that's why Bogues [Bogut] wants to go again too."
While the hurt from Rio continues to linger, so too does the camaraderie and relationships between the close-knit Boomers group.
"To get so close to a goal, a dream, and something that we had planned for, it certainly brought us all closer together," said Broekhoff.
"It's going to be interesting across the next four years. We have so much younger talent coming through. [Ben] Simmons, [Thon] Maker, and [Jonah] Bolden – who just got drafted - that's some serious talent. The talent coming through Aussie basketball right now, it will only continue to push us and drive us to be better.
"While there is going to be plenty of time to see how things [Boomers] develop [over] the next few years, obviously the first thing is to make sure that everyone is available to play.
"But yes, that feeling of unfinished business is still very much there."
Pooled in Group D alongside Japan, Hong Kong and Chinese Taipei for the FIBA Asian Cup, the Boomers take that first step towards taking care of unfinished business starting in Lebanon this week.
Boomers schedule for FIBA Asia Cup (all times in AEST)
August 8: Australia vs Japan at 11:00pm August 10: Australia vs Hong Kong at 11:00pm August 12: Australia vs Chinese Taipei at 11:00pm August 17: Quarterfinals August 19: Semifinals August 20: Bronze and gold medal games
Fox Sports will be broadcasting every Boomers game live on Channel 507.
Australian Boomers for FIBA Asia Cup 2017
Angus BRANDT – Perth Wildcats Brad NEWLEY – Sydney Kings Cameron GLIDDON – Cairns Taipans Daniel KICKERT – Brisbane Bullets David ANDERSEN – Melbourne United Jason CADEE – Sydney Kings Mitchell CREEK – Adelaide 36ers Mitchell McCARRON – Cairns Taipans Mitchell NORTON – Illawarra Hawks Matthew HODGSON – Adelaide 36ers Nicholas KAY – Illawarra Hawks Todd BLANCHFIELD – Sydney Kings