Interview: Brad Newley

Interview: Brad Newley

It’s hard to believe that Australian Boomers star Brad Newley is only 29 years of age, with his emergence as a young star of the NBL and the national team program happening 10 years ago.

With two Olympic Games, two FIBA World Championships and a Commonwealth Games gold medal under his belt, Newley is no longer the untamed colt, but a strong veteran providing leadership and experience to an exciting young group of Boomers looking to create history in Spain.

Currently plying his trade in the Spanish Liga Endesa competition with high-flying Gran Canaria, Newley is enjoying the experience of living on an island paradise with his young family, but with Spain hosting the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup his focus is growing stronger on the Boomers.

We caught up with Newley to talk about the build-up in Gran Canaria – the Boomers’ home for the preliminary rounds of the World Cup – and his hopes for the team heading into the tournament.

BA: Firstly, how is life in the Canary Islands?

BN: It’s a very isolated place and it’s a good 2-3 hour flight from Madrid. It confuses people a little bit that we’re still considered part of Spain when we’re off the coast of Morocco. The layout is very unique in that the city is right on the beach, so you can be right in the heart of the city and within a five minute walk you can be on the sand.

The people are very friendly and welcoming, they love their basketball and hopefully that can translate to having more fans in the stands supporting the Boomers at the World Cup.

BA: The Spanish Liga Endesa is regarded as one of the best in the world – how would you describe the style of play and how does that translate to the international game?

BN: The defence is very tough and that puts a premium on looking after the ball. You can’t just come down and take crazy shots, but at the same time you have to play with a little bit of risk to try and breakdown the defences.

That’s what I like about this league: you can still play aggressive at times and push the ball, but also you know when to lock down and make the most of every possession.

BA: You’ve criss-crossed around Europe for several seasons before settling at Gran Canaraia – are you looking to extend your stay at the club beyond this season?

BN: I’m enjoying my time here in the Canary Islands, but I’m a free agent at the end of this season, so that’s one thing I’m looking at now in trying to figure out what I’m going to do. I’m very happy here with the club, it’s very professional and they certainly look after us.

BA: The city of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria in the Canary Islands is host venue for the Australian Boomers preliminary round games at the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup. How is the city embracing the event?

BN: The city was very excited when it was announced as one of the host cities, with a lot of the locals really getting into it, which will make for a great atmosphere. I’m hoping those Gran Canaria supporters will come out for the Boomers games and make it a bit of a home game atmosphere for us, which would be great.

All the fans are asking me to get them some tickets for the Boomers games, but I don’t think I’ll be able to arrange 5000 tickets!

I’d be very excited to get the opportunity to play for my country in my home away from home, but the focus for me now needs to stay on helping Gran Canaria have a strong finish to the season and when the time comes, turn my attention to the Boomers.

BA: Let’s turn talk to the Australian Boomers. You’ve played for the national team for a number of years at a host of major international tournaments. What does it mean to you to be a part of the Boomers team on that big stage?

BN: In the big tournaments you can’t help but get excited. The lead-up around those tournaments, getting into camp and seeing your teammates is something I really enjoy.

The friends I’ve made in the Boomers camp are the friends I’ll have for life. I got married last off-season and a lot of the guys were at my wedding, so that shows the bond we have.

The thing for me is I’ve been to two Olympics, two World Championships and a Commonwealth Games – I want to create some history that the Boomers haven’t done yet and that’s win a medal at major tournament.

BA: A new generation of players are making their mark on the Boomers program, with the likes of Matthew Dellavedova, Cameron Bairstow and Dante Exum emerging, while we’re also seeing yourself, Patty Mills and Joe Ingles become the experienced core. Is it an exciting time to be a part of the program?

BN: It really is exciting times for the Boomers program. I’m hearing a lot of good things about some of the young players coming through and it’s also great to see guys like Patty and Delly doing well in the NBA too.

Also in Europe too, with Joe and a few of the other guys having good seasons, so hopefully we can pull it together at tournament time.

BA: Do you see your role changing within the team with the emergence of these young players?

BN: I see myself as a very good impact player for the team – that’s what I’ve done at two Olympics. I’ve adjusted my game to suit the team, it could be as an impact player, a defensive stopper – anything I can do to help the Boomers I want to do.

I just want to be there at the tournament and when it’s game time I want to doing all I can to help the team.

BA: The Boomers have been drawn in a challenging group that includes European giants Lithuania and Slovenia. How did you view the outcome of the draw?

BN: We’ve got some very good teams in our group – you only have to look at Lithuania, who reached the 2013 Eurobasket final, and Slovenia has always been a bogey side for us.

You’ve got a talented team in Mexico, who we don’t know a lot about, but they won the FIBA COCABA Championships, the Koreans can shoot you out of the game and Angola have always been a handful for us.

In the World Cup you can’t take games for granted.

BA: For those venturing over to the Canary Islands for the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup, where is the best place to get a cup of coffee?

BN: My house! I’ve got a brilliant Nespresso machine that I brew very good coffee in daily. It’ll be 2 Euros per pod if you want to call in. My Dad’s a chance to be running the café out of my kitchen for the tournament.

It’s all about Churros over here – we have very nice Churros.