The Australian Boomers' 12-man team has been announced, in readiness for the upcoming FIBA Asia Cup next month.
Leading this squad are veteran Boomers David Andersen and Brad Newley, with Andersen the only representative returning from the Rio Olympics Boomers team. The side is rounded out with NBL talent, many of them fresh to the Boomers campaign.
“It is a great opportunity for the first-timers to get that international experience with the Boomers, which will serve us well as we progress through the qualification process,” Boomers head coach Andrej Lemanis commented.
“I’ve been so impressed and humbled with the attitude that everyone came into camp with. I know how much it means to them to be in a Boomers environment and every time you are around them, it reminds you just how lucky we are to be involved in a wonderful program with wonderful people.”
Having said that, some of them have been part of earlier Emerging Boomers tours or World University Games campaigns, and are familiar enough with the system that will be run.
“The time we devoted to those tours is now paying off,” Lemanis said. “I’ve coached most of these guys before, and where we were on the first day of camp in terms of offensive and defensive understanding, was very advanced for a team just coming together.
“That’s a reflection of the time we have invested in our strategy over the past four years or so and we are certainly reaping the rewards now.”
The final roster was decided following a training camp at the Gold Coast. Coach Lemanis pointed out the direction of the recent camp, and the long-term objectives it held.
“Part of this camp’s purpose was to set the scene for the next 18 months or so through the first set of qualifiers,” Lemanis said. “We wanted to continue to build with the broader group and establish the team’s trademarks as well as offensive and defensive understandings."
“To that end, some players who were injured still gave up their time to be connected to the program. It was pleasing to see those who were a part of the Olympic campaign continue to stay engaged and give to the group.
“Even when they weren’t able to contribute on court due to injury, they continued to give to the group by communicating and sharing their knowledge, which is a really positive sign moving forward."
Lemanis also spoke about the level of support coming from NBL teams, and the focus on health.
“The NBL clubs have been very supportive including allowing injured players to come into camp and trusting us to do the right thing with those guys. We have a responsibility to respect our players and an obligation to their clubs to not put them in situations of increased injury risk.
"Those players that were unable to come to Beirut due to injury now have time to get the treatment they need and be right for the start of the NBL season. Having everyone healthy and available for selection in November is a great outcome."
Rio Olympians Chris Goulding and Kevin Lisch who were both part of the 20-man squad that trained on the Gold Coast last week are notable omissions due to injury. Nathan Sobey, who had been battling a groin injury since NBA Summer League, was also left out of the final team, with Lemanis choosing players who were fit, healthy and able to demonstrate their capability in the Boomers workouts. The side is also without their growing contingent of NBA and European-based stars who were all unavailable for selection.
The Boomers will stay in camp until Thursday, July 27 before heading to Beirut, Lebanon on August 2 for a series of practices and a lead-in game before their first official game on August 8.
The FIBA Asia Cup is set to be held in Lebanon, from 8-20 August 2017.
Boomers game schedule for FIBA Asia Cup (all times in AEST)
August 8: Australia vs Japan at 11pm August 10: Australia vs Hong Kong at 11pm August 12: Australia vs Chinese Taipei at 11pm August 17: Quarterfinals August 19: Semifinals August 20: Bronze and gold medal games
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