NBL stars dominate FIBA Qualifier team
LATE last week, Basketball Australia announced the squad for the upcoming FIBA Basketball World Cup Qualifiers, which are set to take place later this month. The Australian Boomers will play in front of their fans in Melbourne, as the team looks to progress to the FIBA World cup in 2023.
The team will be made up of some of Australia’s finest basketball products, with a number of familiar faces making another appearance. As expected, Olympic Bronze Medalist Matthew Dellavedova headlines the list, and will provide some vital leadership to the squad, which contains a few debut appearances in the green and gold.
The side is also a testament to the strength of Australia’s premier basketball competition in the National Basketball League (NBL), with almost all players suiting up in NBL22, with the exception of Thon Maker. NBL22 saw the league produce more stars than ever, and the Boomers squad reflects that. Playing in Melbourne will certainly give these players an advantage, with the familiarity of home court set to play a massive role.
NBL champions Clint Steindl, Sam McDaniel and Wani Swaka Lo Buluk headline the debutants, while 2021/22 Most Improved Player Keanu Pinder and Breakers’ excitement machine William McDowell-White round out the first timers.
Adding some veteran presence will be Todd Blanchfield of the Wildcats and 36er Mitch McCarron. both of whom won gold in the side’s 2017 campaign, and will be eager to do something similar again here. Sam Froling and Jack McVeigh competed in the Boomers’ 2019 and 2021 campaigns, and will add some flair to the team’s offence, while Melbourne United’s Jack White will bring athleticism and defence to the team.
Arguably the best coach Australian shores have seen, Brian Goorjian will be at the helm of the team once again, and spoke of the improvement of the nation’s basketball factory.
“I’m really excited by the depth of basketball talent in Australia, we have put together a competitive list of players, six who are playing as Boomers for the first time. We know what China and Japan will bring to the table and what it will take for the win.”
“We can expect Thon Maker at 7ft to be a significant asset for us, alongside Delly, White and Froling there is a lot to like with this group. We only have a short time to train together, but we will make it count, I know the home crowd will give us the advantage,” Goorjian said.
At John Cain Arena, the Boomers will face off against Japan and China in a bid to compete for the World Cup fixture, which kicks off August of next year.
AUSTRALIAN BOOMERS TEAM
|Will McDowell White|
|Wani Swaka Lo Buluk|
FIBA WORLD CUP QUALIFIERS SCHEDULE:
|Thursday, June 30||Australia v China||6:30pm AEST|
|Friday, July 1||China v Chinese Taipei||5:00pm AEST|
|Friday, July 1||Japan v Australia||7:30pm AEST|
|Sunday, July 3||Japan v Chinese Taipei||4:00pm AEST|
|Sunday, July 3||China v Australia||6:30pm AEST|
|Monday, July 4||Chinese Taipei v China||6:30pm AEST|