The Australian men’s and women’s basketball teams selected to represent Australia at the 2007 World University Summer Games will depart Sydney at 4:40pm today on flight BA10 bound for Thailand.
The World University Games are held every two years under the patronage of the International University Sport Federation (FISU) and in 2007 will take place between August 8 and 18 in Bangkok.
2007 defencejobs Opals squad members Eva Afeaki and Samantha Richards, and Sapphires World Championship silver medalist Chantella Perera, head the 12-member women’s team, which includes ten players from the defencejobs Women’s National Basketball League (WNBL) and three athletes based at American colleges.
“This is a very good team and we are confident that they will be in medal contention at the games,” Basketball Australia General Manager of National Teams and Competitions Lorraine Landon said.
The team will be coached by five-time defencejobs WNBL championship winning coach Carrie Graf, the current head coach of the Canberra Capitals.
Hannah Zavecz (University of Wyoming, USA) and Eleanor Haring (University of Oregon, USA) were named in the original squad on June 6 but have since withdrawn due to injury, with Tanya Smith (University of Hawaii) and Perera (Dandenong Rangers) elevated from the reserves list.
“I haven’t seen the full team yet but the plus is that three quarters of the team are current WNBL players who play big minutes that I either coach or coach against.
“The goal is to win the gold medal.
“It is going to be very hot and the humidity is going to be high so our recovery, hydration and acclimatization will be critical.”
The first women’s game is scheduled for August 8 against Brazil at 8:30pm local time while the men’s team will face Korea on August 7 at 4:30pm local time.
The talented men’s team will be led by NBL Championship winning Head Coach Bruce Palmer and includes athletes with national and international basketball experience, many of whom are currently on scholarships with elite American college programs.
“We have been able to assemble a talented and balanced roster that will provide Australia with a solid opportunity to win a medal in the men’s competition at this international event,” Palmer said.
The 2007 Australian University Women’s basketball team:
Eva Afeaki 183cm Sydney Uni Flames
Samantha Richards 170cm Dandenong Rangers
Jessica Foley 182cm Adelaide Lightning
Shelley Hammonds 187cm Dandenong Rangers
Georgia Woodyard 187cm Sydney Uni Flames
Kelly Wilson 168cm Townsville Fire
Melissa Smith 186cm Sydney Uni Flames
Lauren King 182cm Adelaide Lightning
Natalie Hurst 163cm Canberra Capitals
Rachel Warren 190cm University of Portland, USA
Tanya Smith 190cm University of Hawaii, USA
Laura Thomas 182cm University of Portland, USA
Chantella Perera 174cm Dandenong Rangers
Head Coach: Carrie Graf (Canberra Capitals)
Assistant Coach: David Herbert
Manager: Kirstie Dench
The 2007 Australian University Men’s basketball team:
Ben Allen VIC University of Indiana
Ryan Bathie VIC Nicholls State University
Aron Baynes QLD Washington State University
Stefan Blasczcynski NSW Nicholls State University
Mitch Brennan NSW Mercyhurst College
Luke Cooper VIC University of Alaska – Anchorage
Carlin Hughes WA St. Mary’s College – California
Martin Iti WA New Mexico State University
Marcus Ng SA University of Adelaide (Adelaide 36ers)
Liam Norton VIC University of Melbourne (Melbourne Tigers)
Alex Opacic NSW Furman University
Lucas Walker NSW St. Mary’s College – California
Head Coach: Bruce Palmer
Assistant Coach: Paul Mesecke (SA)
Manager: Greg Warnecke (VIC)
The event will be men’s assistant coach Paul Mesecke’s first and team manager Greg Warnecke’s third University Games campaign.
The entire Australian World University Games Team involves over 150 athletes and officials participating across 15 sports.