Following a highly successful 7-day training camp on the Gold Coast, Basketball Australia and Boomers Head Coach Brian Goorjian have selected a 14 man squad that they believe has the talent and drive to beat New Zealand.
Recently beset by the loss of star players Andrew Bogut, CJ Bruton, Matt Nielsen and Chris Anstey to injury, Goorjian is now buoyed by the enthusiasm he witnessed at the camp and the team’s unified drive to beat the Kiwis.
Australia is gearing up for the 2007 FIBA Oceania Men’s Championship against New Zealand to be played on August 20, 22 and 24 in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane, with the winner earning the right to play in Beijing.
“The guys really stepped it up at the camp,” Goorjian said.
“They are in great shape and motivated and after Newley and Schenscher arrived I thought, ‘Hey, we’ve got a pretty nice team.’”
“We had questions about the point guard position but Darnell Mee came in and picked up the system quickly and he’s a leader and respected by the group.
“We hadn’t seen David Andersen for a while but he is a class player that can score and has played around the world and is a true professional and he made all the other guys around him better.
“Mackinnon continued his MVP form and had a great camp and the young guys like Worthington, Gibson and Ingles brought great energy.
“With this group I’m feeling good about Europe and the New Zealand series.”
“The Kiwis are tough and the series that they’re having with Venezuela is very physical, but at this point in time I just don’t see any surprises.
“We know what to expect.”
Recent NBA draftee Brad Newley tore ligaments in his left ankle at the end of the Gold Coast training camp but will travel with the team on their two week, eight game tour of Italy and Turkey in preparation for the all-important trans-Tasman series in August.
Also under evaluation by the medical staff is Sydney King Russell Hinder, who captained the Boomers to victory at a 4 Nations Tournament in China last month but has been named as a non-touring reserve in the squad due to an ongoing calf injury, along with South Dragon Jacob Holmes.
South Dragon Matt Burston, Perth Wildcat Alex Loughton and Sydney King Ian Crosswhite were released from duty when the squad size was reduced.
Australian Emu Patrick Mills, who is currently in Europe following the conclusion of the FIBA World Championship for Under 19 men, will join the Boomers squad on an Indigenous Talent Identification Grant, courtesy of the Australian Sports Commission.
The Australia Post Boomers will depart Sydney bound for Europe on SQ222 at 3:40pm on Friday.
The Australia Post Boomers:
David ANDERSEN 212cm CSKA Moscow
Adam GIBSON 188cm Brisbane Bullets
Wade HELLIWELL 213cm Siena (Italy)
Joe INGLES 203cm South Dragons
Luke KENDALL 193cm Sydney Kings
Sam MACKINNON 197cm Brisbane Bullets
Darnell MEE 198cm Cairns Taipans
Patrick MILLS 181cm Australian Institute of Sport
Brad NEWLEY 198cm Houston Rockets (USA), Adelaide 36ers
Damien RYAN 193cm Perth Wildcats
Glen SAVILLE 197cm Sydney Kings
Luke SCHENSCHER 216cm Portland Trailblazers (USA)
Jason SMITH 194cm Sydney Kings
Mark WORTHINGTON 202cm Sydney Kings
Russell HINDER 208cm Sydney Kings
Jacob HOLMES 198cm South Dragons
Brian GOORJIAN Head Coach
Brendan JOYCE Assistant Coach
Gordon McLEOD Assistant Coach
Nic MERCER Operations Manager
Dr Seamus DALTON Doctor
Nik POPOVIC Strength and Conditioning
Steve EVANS Physiotherapist
Diana GLAZER Massage Therapist