Coming off a six-day selection camp alongside the Australian Rollers at the Basketball Australia National Centre of Excellence in Canberra, Spinners Head Coach Tom Kyle was left with the difficult task of selecting his final team.
Kyle, recently appointed the Head Coach of the Australian Gliders women’s national wheelchair basketball team, said he believes this group of players have a great opportunity to achieve success in Turkey after a tough preparation.
“We’re just out a week in camp with the Australian Rollers (men’s national wheelchair basketball team) – the best team in the world – so we’ve had a great preparation,” Kyle said.
“You can’t ask for a better preparation then playing a four-game series in camp against a team like the Rollers, who were holding nothing back against our guys.
“To the credit of our team we stood up to that and there were periods where we won certain quarters, which gives the team so much confidence.”
Leading the team to Turkey will be 2012 London Paralympic Games star Jannik Blair, with the 21-year-old named captain of the team.
In Blair, Kyle said he has a natural leader that sets the benchmark high on and off the court.
“You couldn’t ask for a better captain of the Australian Spinners,” Kyle said.
“The guy is only young, but he’s already starting five with the Rollers and has played in the 2012 London Paralympic Games gold medal match as a starter, so he’s got all that experience.
“You can’t buy that and we’re just blessed to have that experience in Jannik.”
The New South Wales Institute of Sport wheelchair basketball program, soon to become the home of the Basketball Australia National Wheelchair Centre of Excellence, is the best represented in the squad, with Colin Smith, Luke Popel,
Michael Auprince, Bradley Fisher and NT product Clarence Grogan filling five of the 12 positions in the team.
The Spinners will begin their World Championship campaign on Saturday 7 September against Sweden, and will face Venezuela, Italy, Turkey and Japan in their pool.
The 2013 IWBF Under 23 Men’s World Championships take place in Turkey from 7-14 September.
Australian Spinners Team – 2013 IWBF Under 23 Men’s World Championships
Jannik Blair (Captain) Victoria (Wollongong Rollerhawks)
Colin Smith New South Wales (Wollongong Rollerhawks)
Bailey Rowland Queensland (RSL Qld Spinning Bullets)
Luke Popel New South Wales (Wollongong Rollerhawks
Kayl Jeffery Western Australia (Be Active Perth Wheelcats)
Jake Kavanagh Western Australia (Be Active Perth Wheelcats)
Tom O'Neill-Thorne Northern Territory (RSL Qld Spinning Bullets)
Clarence Grogan Northern Territory (Sydney Uni Wheelkings)
Jordan Bartley Queensland (RSL Qld Spinning Bullets)
Michael Auprince New South Wales (Sydney Uni Wheelkings)
Brad Fisher New South Wales (Wollongong Rollerhawks)
Ryan Morich Western Australia (Be Active Perth Wheelcats)
Head Coach: Tom Kyle
Assistant Coach: David Gould
Assistant Coach: Sonia Taylor
Manager: Donna Ironmonger
Physiotherapist: Ryan Campbell