BA recently named the 12-man team that will challenge for the world title in Turkey from 28 August to 12 September and it included nine players who had either previously played in or are currently playing in the NBL.
Centre David Andersen might currently be plying his trade as an NBA star for the Toronto Raptors, but he got his start with the NBL’s Wollongong Hawks.
Fellow Boomer Matthew Nielsen has been one of Europe’s most consistent big men in recent years but he made his pro debut for the Sydney Kings and won two NBL titles in the Harbour City.
Boomers forward David Barlow, currently signed to Spanish team CAI Zaragoza Spain, played in four NBL Grand Finals series in five years, winning two titles with the Sydney Kings and one with the Melbourne Tigers. Mark Worthington was a teammate of Barlow’s in Sydney, before winning a title with the South Dragons and playing last season with the Melbourne Tigers prior to joining Brose Baskets Bamberg in Germany.
Joe Ingles, who is signed with Spanish team CB Granada, was an NBL Rookie of the Year with the South Dragons, as was Serbian league star Steven Markovic with the West Sydney Razorbacks and Brad Newley (Lietuvos Rytas – Lithuania) with the Townsville Crocodiles.
Adam Gibson is the reigning NBL Defensive Player of the Year with the Gold Coast Blaze, while fellow guard Damian Martin led his Perth Wildcats to the 2010 NBL Championship last season.
Sengstock said the plethora of NBL experience on the Boomers’ world titles team clearly demonstrated the important role the NBL was playing in Australian basketball.
“The fact that nine of the 12 players selected to represent Australia in Turkey have played in the NBL, and most of those for multiple seasons, clearly underlines the critical role that the NBL is playing in developing Australian basketballers into world class athletes,” said Sengstock. “It is the domestic pinnacle of our high performance pathway and provides opportunities for our players to showcase their skills in their own country.
“Australian players are increasingly becoming hot commodities internationally because of the high quality professional experience they can receive in their own country playing in the NBL,” Sengstock added. “The NBL has been rated as one of the top five or six pro leagues internationally for many years, and it continues to be a destination for top Australian and overseas talent.”
The 2010/11 NBL season tips-off on 15 October and games will be shown live on the NBL’s new broadcast partner Network Ten and its digital sports channel ONE.