Veteran swingman Joe Ingles has announced that he will not be joining the Airbnb Australian Boomers this year, opting to rest and recharge after his first arduous NBA season. According to Basketball Australia, this decision was made after discussion with the NBA's Utah Jazz, Boomers head coach Andrej Lemanis, and also BA's GM of High Performance and National Teams Chuck Harmison.
If all goes well, Big Joe will be in a Boomers jersey when the 2016 Summer Olympics come around. The Boomers will be matching up against New Zealand in the qualifying series, and the winner will be eligible for the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Ingles has spoken about how his decision was made in light of the coming Rio Olympics, despite an obvious desire to represent the country in every occasion possible.
“I take great pride in representing my country in international competition, and for that reason, this decision was very difficult for me. Everyone associated with the Boomers – the coaches, my teammates, and the support staff – have been integral in my development as a basketball player and as a person. I believe that a summer of rest is the best thing for my basketball career and will also ensure that I am in peak condition to fully dedicate myself to my team and country as we pursue a medal at the Rio Olympics.” - Basketball Australia
Grinding through an 82-game NBA schedule in a new team and environment, with the rigors of road travel is no laughing matter. The past months have definitely taken their toll on Ingles, and he has talked about his exhaustion in an earlier radio interview, as covered by Hayley.
“Pretty much destroying it. You kind of get used to being tired.”
Ingles' presence on the team will be missed. But with Rio 2016 on the horizon, health is an absolute priority, and head coach Lemanis has voiced his support for Jingles' decision.
“I know how much Joe loves playing for Australia and that missing a campaign with us is very difficult for him to accept – he has been a stalwart of the program over the past seven years.
However, it is important for us as a sport to work with the athletes to ensure longevity and peak performance, not only for the National Team, but also for their careers. Our goal as a team is to medal at the Rio Olympics and deliver to Australia a first ever men’s medal at a benchmark event. As an entire team we believe that Joe taking this time off from on court duties with the National team will best position us for the success we seek at the Olympics.
I look forward to Joe’s continued contribution to the team this year through his commitment to communication with the group during the year and through his off court involvement in our preparation. I know he will be bursting to again pull on the green and gold in 2016.”
Rest up Ingles, and we'll be setting our sights on Rio 2016.