The Golden Star Boomers Australian men’s national basketball team will host current world number one Argentina in a three-game series in Perth, Melbourne and Adelaide as part of their preparations for the 2010 FIBA World Championship.
Argentina currently hold the number one place on FIBA’s World Rankings for Men, rated even ahead of the might of the United States and their bevy of NBA talent. They are the reigning South American Champions and won the prestigious FIBA Diamond Ball Tournament in 2008. Argentina won the Olympic gold medal at the 2004 Athens Olympic Games and were bronze medalists in Beijing. They have finished in the top four at all major international championships since 2002.
The series will tip-off on Friday 25 June in Perth at Challenge Stadium (also known as ‘The Jungle’, the home of the NBL’s Perth Wildcats). Game Two will be played at the Melbourne Tigers’ home court at the State Netball Hockey Centre (‘The Cage’) on Sunday 27 June. The third and deciding game will be played at the Adelaide 36ers’ home venue on the Brett Maher Court at The Dome on Tuesday 29 June. Tip-off times will be confirmed at a later date.
The series will take on added intensity, with both Australia and Argentina drawn in Group A for the 2010 FIBA World Championships, which will be held in Turkey from 28 August to 12 September. The two teams are scheduled to face each other in a Preliminary Round match in the city of Kayseri in Central Turkey on Sunday 29 August.
Whilst the make-up of their team to tour Australia is yet to be determined, Argentina currently have five players in the world’s best basketball league, the US-based NBA - Carlos Delfino (Milwaukee Bucks), Manu Ginobili (San Antonio Spurs), Andres Nocioni (Sacramento Kings), Fabricio Oberto Washington Wizards) and Luis Scola (Houston Rockets).
Boomers’ head coach Brett Brown was ecstatic that Basketball Australia had managed to secure a home series against the world’s best.
“At the moment Argentina are the number one team in the world and no matter who they bring they are just a powerhouse when you’re talking about basketball nations,” said Brown from the US where he is preparing his San Antonio Spurs NBA team for the NBA Playoffs in his role as an assistant coach. “Last year on our tour to South America even without their stars they showed just how good and how deep they are. They are a passionate and proud basketball nation.
“Year in, year out they produce quality players with incredible talent. I’m thrilled that we’re able to bring that sort of team to Australia and can let Australian fans see their exciting style of play. It will be great basketball and a great chance to showcase our developing talent as well.”
Brown said the Boomers team for the series would be selected following a five-day pre-selection camp to be held in Perth from 20 – 24 June but he expected to see some of the Australians currently plying their trade internationally in the side.
“It will be a good chance for the Australian public to see some Aussie players that haven’t been playing domestically for a while as well as some that have been starring in the NBL too,” said Brown. “We’re still formulating plans for our training camp, assessing player health and getting a handle on player availability around their team’s playing schedules so it’s too early to say just who will be in the Boomers’ team for the series. We do expect however to field a good blend of players, with some who have extensive international experience as well as some exciting young Australian talents.
“In terms of who the Argentineans will bring out, it’s early days and they are in same situation as us. They just don’t know yet who will be fit and available, but regardless of who they bring they will be an incredibly tough opponent,” Brown added.
The last time the Boomers played Argentina, they beat the Argentineans for the first time in 19 years in a game that went to double overtime on their 2009 South American tour.
Boomers versus Argentina International Series
Game One Friday 25 June Challenge Stadium, Perth
Game Two Sunday 27 June State Netball Hockey Centre, Melbourne
Game Three Tuesday 29 June Brett Maher Court at The Dome, Adelaide