Basketball Australia has named a distinctly different looking Boomers squad that will commence preparations for their Asian Cup debut in Beirut, Lebanon from 8-20 August.
While Rio representatives David Andersen, Chris Goulding and Kevin Lisch have been named to a 20-strong training squad, a host of fringe Boomers and rising stars have been included for a camp to be held at the Carrara Sports Precinct on the Gold Coast this weekend. Most notably, Australia's increasing contingent of NBA, European and US College based stars are not featured, with the Boomers quest for a first Asian Cup set to be powered by talent playing in the NBL.
Long-time Boomers representative Brad Newley and Daniel Kickert add further experience to the squad, while NBA Summer League participants Nathan Sobey and Mitch Creek also valuable inclusions.
European star Ben Madgen was an original inclusion in the squad after a stellar season in Lithuania and the EuroCup, however he has since been replaced by Basketball Australia Centre of Excellence scholarship holder Matthew Johns. Victorian Johns is a promising 18-year-old power forward who has represented Australia at youth level.
Madgen's omission results in Clint Steindl as being the only full-time European-based player in the squad. Steindl played strongly with the Leuven Bears in Belgium last season and continued to demonstrate his ability to make shots from beyond the three-point arc.
The remainder of the squad comprises of NBL talent, with Sydney well represented with four players, while Melbourne and Adelaide boast three players each challenging for a spot in the final team of 12. Andrej Lemanis returns as Boomers head coach, and will have a challenging task of assembling a final team to contest a first ever Asian Cup for the Boomers as part of a revised qualification system for the 2019 FIBA World Cup.
Australia is shaping as the hot favourite for the Asian Cup, having been drawn in Group D with with Japan, Chinese Taipei and Hong Kong. Barring a disaster, Australia should progress from Group D as the only undefeated team, and in reality, should do so comfortably. Fellow Oceania heavyweight New Zealand loom as the Boomers only likely challenger for the 2017 title.
David ANDERSEN| Melbourne United Todd BLANCHFIELD | Sydney Kings Angus BRANDT | Perth Wildcats Jason CADEE | Sydney Kings Mitch CREEK | Adelaide 36ers Cameron GLIDDON | Cairns Taipans Chris GOULDING | Melbourne United Matt HODGSON | Adelaide 36ers Tom JERVIS | Brisbane Bullets Matthew JOHNS | Centre of Excellence Nicholas KAY | Illawarra Hawks Daniel KICKERT | Brisbane Bullets Kevin LISCH | Sydney Kings Majok MAJOK | Melbourne United Mitch MCCARRON | Cairns Taipans Brad NEWLEY | Sydney Kings Mitch NORTON | Illawarra Hawks Nathan SOBEY | Adelaide 36ers Clint STEINDL | Leuven, Belgium Jesse WAGSTAFF | Perth Wildcats