Phillin` The Lane: Boomers Line Up, Sized Up

Phillin` The Lane: Boomers Line Up, Sized Up

With the World Basketball Championships less then two weeks away, the Golden Star Boomers will head to France for one final exhibition tournament.

The Boomers will face France (who just lost to the USA in an exhibition, 55-86) on August 22nd, Argentina (who they swept in a three game series earlier this summer, and who will be in their Group at the Worlds) on August 23rd, and finally Brazil on August 24th.

All three of these games should be very interesting; however, the first two are the ones I am really looking forward to.

First, with the USA having just embarrassed France, they will be looking to get off to a fast start in front of their home-countrymen.

The Boomers held China in check during the opener of the Stankovic Cup in China, and here in France they will be looking to do the same thing in hostile territory. China is a better overall team than France is, but their fans are just as passionate. They have better post players and shoot the ball much more efficiently then the French.

In the second pairing, Australia will take on the Argentineans whom they swept in a three-game series across Australia.

The current number one ranked team by FIBA, Argentina has not forgotten those three games and will be looking to exact some revenge on the Boomers for the embarrassment they felt after that series.

Argentina will come out on fire and it will be exciting to watch and see how the Boomers respond to that.

This matchup also sets up an interesting chess match for these two teams who will be facing off against one another again in the second game of Group A at the World Championships.

Will either or both coaches try to tip their hand and really show the full potential of their roster? Will the players themselves show those little tricks that they save for only the biggest of spots during games?

It is tough to beat a single team three times in a row - like the Aussies have done here - let alone four or five like the Boomers will be trying to do. It will be exciting to see how the players and coaches from both sides choose to go about this matchup.

With training camp closing for the final time this week, Coach Brett Brown picked his final roster that will head to Turkey and represent Australia in the prestigious World Championship Tournament.

The roster looks exactly the same as the one that was present during their silver-medal Stankovic Cup run a few weeks ago, except with one major addition.

Joining the Boomers on their quest for a World Championship will be former Partizan Belgrade standout Aleks Maric.

Maric is a huge pick-up for the Boomers, who some thought may have been slightly under sized for a matchup with some European powers.

Maric is a big, physical presence on the court who isn’t afraid to rough it up with whomever he goes up against in the paint.

Needing a roster spot to accommodate Maric, Coach Brown decided to part ways with Besiktas Cola Turkey centre AJ Ogilvy.  

As much as Ogilvy was a solid option off the bench for the Boomers, Maric gives Australia a quality starting centre with the absence of Andrew Bogut.

Maric’s experience in Europe this year will help this team tremendously in the tournament.

Maric is used to the international style of play, where Ogilvy has been used to the college game and trying to tailor his game to NBA standards during this recent off-season tryouts.

Maric’s accolades in Serbia are also very impressive; having been named the Serbian Cup MVP after leading Partizan to a 2010 Serbian League Championship, and also being elected to the All-EuroLeague First Team.

For Partizan this past year he averaged 14.6 points, 8.4 rebounds, 1.2 assists, and 1.2 steals while shooting 61.6 percent from the field.

Aleks had a few options for this current offseason. He could have either played for Serbia - where he holds dual citizenship, use the offseason to rest after a grueling 10-month season in Europe, or play alongside his fellow Aussies.

“It was a long, tough, grueling season in Europe that went right up to the 20th of June, and at that point all I wanted to do was rest and get my mind off basketball because the season was so long,” Maric told Basketball Australia.

He went on to say, “(I think I can bring) physical and emotional toughness. That’s what I brought to my team in Europe and I feel that’s something I can bring to this team – toughness.”

Luckily for Australia and their fans he won’t be trying to beat his fellow Aussies on September 1 when Australia and Serbia face off, but instead will be wearing the green and gold and standing beside them.

The complete 12-man Boomers Roster can be found HERE.

WNBA UPDATES

Seattle Storm (1-2)
Lauren Jackson (2 games): 14.0 points, 5.0 rebounds, 1.5 assists, 1.0 blocks, 1.0 steals
Abby Bishop: career high 29 minutes, 14 points, and two steals against Connecticut on August 13th

Phoenix Mercury (0-2)

Penny Taylor: 12.0 points, 6.5 rebounds, 4.5 assists, and 1.0 steals

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED

•    Boomers finalise World Championship Roster

•    Phoenix Mercury despite 0-2 week clinch playoff berth

•    Abby Bishop records three career-highs in game against Connecticut

WHAT TO WATCH FOR THIS WEEK

•    Boomers final tune-up at Four Nations Tournament in France

•    Second place Mercury (14-17) face third place Los Angeles (12-19) and fourth place San Antonio (12-19) in crucial playoff seeding matchups