The Australian Gems’ preparations for the 2019 FIBA Under-19 World Cup are underway with a squad announced for a camp in May.

Held at Basketball Australia’s Centre of Excellence between May 5-7 in Canberra, the Gems will begin the process to select a team for the tournament held in Bangkok, Thailand from July 20-28.

24 players have been named in the squad, including eight that claimed bronze at the FIBA Asian Under-18 Championships last year which qualified the Gems for the Under-19 World Cup.

From that team, Miela Goodchild is currently representing Duke University while Jazmin Shelley was announced as the WNBL’s Rookie of the Year earlier this week.

She competed in the 2018/19 Chemist Warehouse WNBL season alongside Shyla Heal, Alexandra Fowler and Chelsea D’Angelo while the likes of Ruby Porter, Isabelle Bourne and Haylee Andrews have all competed in previous WNBL seasons.

In addition, Shelley also won the 2019 Under-20 Australian Championships with Victoria alongside Lily Scanlon, D’Angelo, Sophia Locandro, Agnes Emma-Nnopu, Madeline Puli and Isobel Anstey.

New South Wales’ Isabel Palmer was awarded the Bob Staunton Medal as the tournament’s best player after averaging 18.4 points (third best overall), 6.7 rebounds, 3.4 assists (fourth) and 1.7 steals (ninth) while leading her team to a silver medal.

“One of our main strengths in this squad is the depth of experience and exposure to international basketball,” said Gems coach Dee Butler.

“We have a large number of athletes that have competed at Under-17 and Under-19 World Cups, at Oceania and Asia qualifying tournaments as well as those within the US college system.

“We also have elite athletes with the appropriate conditioning and athleticism needed to implement repeated defensive efforts so I’m hoping our defence can be a trademark of this group.”

The camp in May will allow the Gems to look at the impressive depth they have at each position while also beginning the implementation of the team’s structures and culture.

A final selection camp will then be held closer to the Under-19 World Cup in July while a couple of international practice games will finalise their preparations for the tournament.

As the third most successful country set to compete in this year’s Under-19 World Cup, the Gems will be aiming to emulate the accomplishments of past teams that won gold in 1993, silver in 1997 and bronze medals in 1989, 2013 and 2015.

They will face tough competition though in the form of Japan and South Korea who beat them during the Under-18 Asian Championships as well as the USA who have won seven gold medals at the tournament and defending Champions Russia.

“We are continually finding that the versatility of international players is increasing so we need to ensure we can cover that when selecting the team while also staying true to our own needs and style,” said Butler.

“Tournament play also presents different challenges so we have to ensure we factor that into our selection.

“This is an exciting time for this program and selection will be extremely difficult. Each athlete brings something different or unique to the squad so I’m looking forward to working with them and hopefully we can build towards a very successful tournament.”

The Australian Gems Squad for May Camp ahead of the 2019 FIBA Under-19 World Cup:

Andrews, Haylee Queensland
Anstey, Isobel Victoria
Bourne, Isabelle Australian Capital Territory
D’Angelo, Chelsea Victoria
Dunn, Charlise Victoria
Emma-Nnopu, Agnes Victoria
Fowler, Alexandra Queensland
Fuller, Adelaide Queensland
Goodchild, Miela Queensland
Hannan, Ashlee Australian Capital Territory
Heal, Shyla New South Wales
Kirisome, Jade Queensland
Locandro, Sophia Victoria
Motuga, Juliva Queensland
Palmer, Isabel New South Wales
Pollerd, Olivia Victoria
Porter, Ruby South Australia
Potter, Gemma Victoria
Puli, Madeline Victoria
Rees, Kelsey South Australia
Scanlon, Lily Victoria
Shelley, Jazmin Victoria
Simons, Samantha South Australia
Smith, Sara-Rose Victoria