Basketball Australia has named the Emerging Boomers side for the 2017 World University Games.
The team is littered with players from the NCAA, and includes some of Australia’s brightest young stars. The Games are to be held in Chinese Taipei from August 20-29
Big names that will take the court include Jack McVeigh from the University of Nebraska, Winthrop’s Xavier Cooks, Saint Mary’s Emmett Naar, and Dejan Vasiljevic from the University of Miami.
An elder statesmen of the side is Melbourne United role-player Kyle Adnam. The 23-year-old attends Deakin University in Victoria and will be looking to perform on the big stage. It will be his first appearance in national colours.
Somebody who will also be making their debut in the green and gold is Craig Moller. The former footballer is having a stellar season for SEABL side Ballarat, and recently signed with Melbourne United.
It’s difficult to comment on the side and who was selected, as it is unclear as to who made themselves available. There are some of the top-tier Australian talent from the NCAA that has not been named. Saint Mary's center Jock Landale, who was arguably the best performed Australian in US college last season, was a notable omission, as was Louisville wing Deng Adel who recently tested his NBA interest before withdrawing his name from the draft to return for his junior year with the Cardinals. Chima Moneke of UC Davis and Baylor's Jo Lual-Acuil Jr are two others who enjoyed big seasons who have not been named in the 12-man team. Whether that was purely the choice of the selection committee, or they declined the invitation, remains unclear.
The UniRoos boast a good balance of size, and athleticism. There is little doubt that they will look to push the ball and punish teams in transition. What will be intriguing will be how many of the collegiate players respond to the challenge of international basketball.
Mark Radford is the head coach, and recently spoke to Basketball Australia about the team.
"We’ve got 12 guys that are really excited about representing Australia," he said.
"There’s a good mix of guys in the NBL whether they are contracted or are development players, as well as guys that have chosen the US pathway."
The side will play three warm up games after arriving in Taipei on August 15. Their first game will take place on August 20 against Ukraine. Russia who won bronze in 2015, along with Lithuania, are likely to be the strongest opposition the Emerging Boomers face in Group D.
Australia will be looking to improve upon their tenth placing in 2015, and appear to have assembled a side that may well be able to do so.
2017 Emerging Boomers
Kyle ADNAM | Melbourne United Emmett NAAR | Saint Mary's Dejan VASILJEVIC | Miami Matthew KENYON | Brisbane Bullets Tanner KREBS | Saint Mary's Xavier COOKS | Winthrop Jack MCVEIGH | Nebraska Rhys VAGUE | Perth Wildcats Craig MOLLER | Melbourne United Tyrell HARRISON | Brisbane Bullets Duop REATH | Louisiana State Gorjok GAK | Florida State
World University Games Schedule (all times AEST)
August 20 vs Ukraine, 2:30pm August 21 vs Lithuania, 5:00pm August 23 vs Israel, 5:00pm August 24 vs Russia, 2:30pm August 25 vs Mozambique, 12:00pm