Emus' coach praises versatility

Emus' coach praises versatility

Depth is going to be the key to Australia's chances at the under-19 men's basketball world championships, according to coach Marty Clarke, writes Seamus Bromley in The Canberra Times.

The squad has been in camp at the AIS preparing for its European tour next month and the world titles in July.

Clarke believed that this squad was as versatile as any before.

''This group doesn't really have the dominant players but I think this squad is a lot deeper,'' he said.

''I don't think we are going to have consistent scorers through the tournament, which works in our favour because it makes us harder to scout. On any given night a number of players could have a huge influence on the game.''

Clarke believed that having the world championships in New Zealand would place added pressure on the Emus.

''It's as close as we get to a home championship without actually being at home. I anticipate there will be lots of Australians there.

''It's elite sport and if you can't play in front of a crowd you are probably not elite, but that's part of the game.''

While the tournament would provide a stepping stone for the players, Clarke said they must put the team first.

''It is a team sport and when it comes down to it, our team result is a reflection of the individuals' character.

''If they are all about themselves the team is not going to be successful.''

Nine members of the current squad have already received US College scholarships, including three to St Mary's in California, where Australian Boomer Patrick Mills has excelled.

Before the Emus tackle the world they will take on European powerhouses Spain, Greece and France in the Under-19 Four Nations tournament in Melbourne from June 26-28. For more information go to the tournament website.

To check the other teams the Emus will face at the World Championships head to the official website of the 2009 FIBA U19 World Championship for Men.