The landscape of the Australian men’s basketball team is forever changing. This is in part due to the sporadic nature of FIBA competition, but the change to the World Cup qualification format has meant we get to see more of the Boomers more often, albeit not often a full strength squad.
With the Commonwealth Games only a few months away, the recent matches against the Philippines and Chinese Taipei allowed us to catch a glimpse of many players who will feature on the Gold Coast in April.
As the NBA will still be being played, don’t expect to see the likes of Patty Mills and Joe Ingle suit up. Instead, we should see the majority from the NBL once more, but we may also catch a glimpse of a player or two from Europe.
Our local contingent has been putting in the work for Andrej Lemanis over recent times, giving he and the coaching staff a great look at what they have to offer.
The big men offer an interesting discussion, with all of them getting on the court and performing well in parts over the most recent FIBA World Cup qualification period.
Matt Hodgson hasn’t performed brilliantly for Adelaide this year but brings a different skill set to many other bigs from the Commonwealth. His length gives him a clear advantage against a majority of players who will likely just look to bang and push their way around the basket. This was evident against Chinese Taipei, with the 36ers big man recording 10 points and 7 rebounds in just under 16 minutes of court time.
Angus Brandt, on the other hand, plays a physical game that will be a handy asset for Andrej Lemanis should he need it. The Wildcat has had a solid year in the NBL and the coaching staff will know what they are getting if they do decide to go with him. He had an important impact against the Philippines at Margaret Court Arena, second top scoring for the hosts with 13 points.
Nicholas Kay comes out of Australian basketball factory Metro State and offers decent shooting, strength and speed at 6’9”. His ability to guard both the perimeter and the paint is a clear advantage for the Illawarra Hawk. He showed off his well-rounded game against Chinese Taipei, stuffing the stat sheet with 9 points, 5 assists and 5 rebounds.
Daniel Kickert is clearly the experienced pick of the bunch. He has been performing professionally for years now and provides a great offensive target. Very rarely will you find many 50-40-90 guys at Kickert’s height, which gives him a unique skill set. At times, his defence--or lack thereof--can be a worry, but the effort is there and he could be continue to be a reliable option for the Boomers.
It's unclear what other Aussie bigs, will come into this side, however it is clear that Andrej Lemanis and his coaching staff will have a tough time selecting the squad as the players that were on show over the FIBA World Cup qualification period, each have a different skill set that has both its strengths and weaknesses.