Almost a month out from the Olympics, Australian head coach Andrej Lemanis will take a 'Emerging Boomers' team to China for two short tournaments.
The trip is intended to provide some much-needed international experience for numerous players identified as potential Australian senior representatives in future. Only ten players will be on the tour, which is surprising considering the number of games that will be played in a short space of time and the fact that international competition allows for up to 12 players on a roster.
The two tournaments will take place from June 25-27, and from July 1-3.
Clint Steindl | Image Credit: NBL
Four NBL players will be making the trip to China. Three of them, Clint Steindl, Todd Blanchfield, and Mitch Norton, were recently cut from the Boomer's training squad ahead of Rio. Also included in the team are Basketball Australia Centre of Excellence (CoE) members Matthew Kenyon, Will Magnay, and Andrew Ferguson. Ex-scholarship holder Harry Froling is also going to feature. NCAA Division I college players Jordan Hunter (Saint Mary's College) and Xavier Cooks (Winthrop) round out the talented yet very inexperienced team. Player chemistry will be something that Lemanis will need to focus on in gelling the diverse group together quickly.
This could be a coming out party for Froling, the SMU commit, who has shown great potential in recent years. Froling who was named 2015 Basketball Without Borders MVP at the NBA All-Star weekend, has the potential to be a star of Australian Basketball in the future, and this trip to China could be a perfect launching pad.
In a release from Basketball Australia, High Performance Manager Jan Stirling, explained, "The players will be embracing this opportunity as a chance to demonstrate how they can excel in the benchmark events of future Worlds and Olympics."
The Emerging Boomers will face Serbia, Cameroon, as well as two teams from the Chinese national league. The average age of the team is just under 21, so this will no doubt be a serious test for the young Australians.
The tournaments will also act as somewhat of a warm-up for Andrej Lemanis. Two days after the squad completes the second tournament, he will be in the Boomer's training camp in Melbourne preparing for the Rio Olympics with his NBA talent-laden squad.
This may not be the number one event that Australian basketball fans will have their eyes on in the coming months. However it will gift a lot of home-grown talent the chance to gain some valuable experience on the international stage ahead of the revised qualification process that commences in 2017 for the 2019 FIBA World Cup.
2016 Emerging Boomers
(name / age / team)
Todd Blanchfield / 24 / Melbourne United Jason Cadee / 25 / Sydney Kings Xavier Cooks / 20 / Winthrop University (USA) Andrew Ferguson / 17 / BA Centre of Excellence Harrison Froling / 18 / SMU Jordan Hunter / 19 / St.Mary's (USA) Matthew Kenyon / 18 / BA Centre of Excellence Will Magnay / 18 / BA Centre of Excellence Mitch Norton / 23 / Illawarra Hawks Clint Steindl / 27 / Townsville Crocodiles