While Melbourne will host Team USA for two games against the Australian Boomers at Marvel Stadium in August, Sydney has managed to secure a game of their own in a North American farewell ahead of the 2019 FIBA World Cup in China.
Qudos Bank Arena will host Team USA who will take on rivals Canada on Monday, 26 August 2019, a fixture that will be the final exhibition games for both teams ahead of their opening World Cup games in a contest that will be loaded with NBA stars.
In a further boost for Sydney fans, it has been announced that the New Zealand Tall Blacks' World Cup squad will also play against Canada at the Quaycentre, with two games scheduled for Tuesday, 20 August and Wednesday, 21 August.
The Sydney fixtures boost the number of pre-World Cup games in Australia to seven games, with the Boomers hosting Canada at Perth’s RAC Arena on 16 and 17 August, before Andrej Lemanis' squad heading to Melbourne for the two-game series against the NBA talent-laden Team USA.
Sydney fans are sure to snap up the 17,500 tickets that will go on sale from 3 May for the Team USA versus Canada game that will be loaded with NBA stars. While Team USA will look to roll out a bevvy of NBA stars that could include Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving and James Harden, Canada will have no shortage of stars of their own.
Like Australia, Canada boast a growing wealth of NBA talent and could possibly suit up a squad featuring the likes of Jamal Murray (Denver Nuggets), Andrew Wiggins (Minnesota Timberwolves), Tristan Thompson (Cleveland Cavaliers), Corey Joseph (Indiana Pacers), Kelly Olynyk (Miami Heat) and Nik Stauskas (Cleveland Cavaliers) among others.
“Playing an outstanding opponent like Canada in Sydney is a fantastic way for the USA Men’s National Team to finish out its tour,” outlined USA Basketball Men’s National Team Managing Director, Jerry Colangelo.
“This game will not just be an opportunity to put the finishing touches on our pre-World Cup preparations, but it will be amazing for USA Basketball to return to Qudos Bank Arena where the USA men and women won Olympic gold medals in 2000. I have no doubt the game and atmosphere around the game will again be very memorable.”
Despite being ranked 21st in the world, Canada, like Australia, is viewed as a genuine medal contender in China, with their talent pool belying their world ranking. Canada qualified for the World Cup by topping Group F in the FIBA Americas qualifiers, boasting a record that equaled that of Team USA (10-2) who featured NBA G League players, and ahead of world number twelve Brazil and Venezuela (20th). Grouped with Australia, Lithuania and Senegal in Group H, which has since been dubbed the 'group of death', Canada is looking forward to their World Cup preparations in Australia.
“We’re excited to have the opportunity to compete and gain familiarity against some of the top teams in the world in preparation for the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019,” said Rowan Barrett, Canada Basketball's General Manager, Men’s High Performance.
“The USA has been the gold standard in FIBA basketball for several years so this will be a great opportunity for our program. In addition, having the chance to play tough road games against Australia and New Zealand will be a valuable experience for our team on the road to the World Cup.”
The Tall Blacks enter the World Cup ranked 38th and pooled in Group F with Greece (8th), Brazil (12th) and Montenegro (28th), and as the Boomers know all too well, are never to be underestimated on the world stage. New Zealand is just one of only five nations – joining USA, Serbia, Argentina and Spain – to have made it out of pool play in each of the past four FIBA Basketball World Cups, and is sure to be more than competitive against Canada. the last time the two teams met was a thrilling semi-final clash at the 2018 Commonwealth Games which was one by Canada.
“These games are an amazing opportunity for the Tall Blacks, but also for Basketball New Zealand to forge new and ongoing relationships," shared
Basketball New Zealand CEO, Iain Potter.
"It speaks to our reputation on the international stage that we have secured such an invite to play alongside some of the world’s best teams and I know Pauli (head coach Paul Henare) sees the games against Canada as a great measuring stick for where the team will be at leading into the World Cup.
“This is also a great incentive for our players, a chance for them to show what they can do against NBA level opposition, as a team but also in their own careers – who knows what might come of such an opportunity.”
International Basketball Series Schedule
16 August 2019 – Australian Boomers vs. Canada Basketball – RAC Arena, Perth
17 August 2019 – Australian Boomers vs. Canada Basketball – RAC Arena, Perth
20 August 2019 – Canada Basketball vs. New Zealand Tall Blacks – Quaycentre, Sydney
21 August 2019 – Canada Basketball vs. New Zealand Tall Blacks – Quaycentre, Sydney
22 August 2019 – USA Basketball vs. Australian Boomers – Marvel Stadium, Melbourne
24 August 2019 – USA Basketball vs. Australian Boomers – Marvel Stadium, Melbourne
26 August 2019 – USA Basketball vs. Canada Basketball – Qudos Bank Arena, Sydney