When: Thursday 20th, tip-off 6:30 pm
Where: Nissan Arena, Brisbane
Tickets still available through Ticketek.
The defending Asia Cup champion Boomers will step onto the court against neighbouring rivals, the New Zealand Tall Blacks, in their first clash of the FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers tonight.
With a roster of fresh-young talent, the home side will have big shoes to fill as the Australian men’s national team currently ranks third in the world.
The New Zealand nationals, who currently rank 24th in the world, are also bringing a fresh-faced team to the court. Leading the squad in his debut as head coach is former Gold Coast Blaze player (2007-10) and current Gold Coast Rollers coach, Pero Cameron.
The two sides, which haven’t faced one another in a while due to the induction of the new FIBA structure, are likely to come out with a naturally fierce competition due to the country’s trans-Tasman rival history.
Finishing fourth in the 2019 FIBA World Cup, the Boomers will be eager to start strong and clutch a top spot with all eyes being set on bringing home the gold for the 2021 tournament. The Tall Blacks will also be looking to improve upon their overall performances, as they finished 19th in the 2019 FIBA World Cup tournament.
Head to Head
Rankings (full list here)
Australian Boomers – World number 3
New Zealand Tall Blacks – World number 24
Australia defeated New Zealand at the Finals of the 2015 FIBA Oceania championships in game one (71-59) and game two (89-79).
The 2015 squad that helped seal the win for the Boomers included NBA star Patty Mills, who made 17 points and four rebounds in game one, alongside David Andersen who also scored 17 points and three rebounds.
Among the Australian roster are six debutants that have been handpicked by interim Boomers coach, Will Weaver.
The debutants for the Boomer line up include Illawarra Hawks’ Angus Glover, Sam Froling and Sunday Dech; South East Melbourne Phoenix’s Kyle Adnam and Dane Pineau; plus, Centre of Excellence small forward Josh Giddey.
Josh Giddey is a 6’8” recruit from the Centre of Excellence. Giddey has an impressive stat sheet including an average of 20 points, 8.3 boards and six assists while playing at the 2019 U18 Australian Junior Championships.
Nathan Sobey has had an impressive stint this season with the Brisbane Bullets, scoring a massive 30 points and grabbing eight rebounds in his last game for the 2019/20 NBL season. Sobey has averaged 16.57 points this season for the Bullets, his highest point average tally in his NBL career. Sobey has been named team captain for the Tall Blacks game.
New Zealand Tall Blacks
Shea Ili played in the 2019 FIBA World Cup where he led his side in assists for the tournament, averaged 10.4 points and five assists. Ili also helped the Tall Blacks bring home bronze in the 2018 Commonwealth Games. In the 2017 FIBA Asia Cup, he had one of his best outings and averaged 15.4 points and 5.8 assists per game.
Robert Loe, currently playing with the NBL’s New Zealand Breakers, has averaged 9.6 points and 4.2 rebounds this season. The NZ Breakers are also heading to the NBL Finals, where Loe will aim to help his team defeat Melbourne United in their Semi-Finals series.
Guard: Kyle Adnam (South East Melbourne Phoenix), Jason Cadee (Brisbane Bullets), Cameron Gliddon (Brisbane Bullets), Sunday Dech (Illawarra Hawks), Josh Giddey (Centre of Excellence), Angus Glover (Illawarra Hawks), Daniel Grida (Illawarra Hawks) and Nathan Sobey (Brisbane Bullets).
Forward: Todd Blanchfield (Illawarra Hawks) and Dane Pineau (South East Melbourne Phoenix).
Centres: Sam Froling (Illawarra Hawks) and Matt Hodgson (Brisbane Bullets).
Head Coach: Will Weaver.
New Zealand Tall Blacks
Guards: Shea Ili (Melbourne United), Jarrod Kenny (Cairns Taipans), Taylor Britt (Perth Wildcats), Ethan Rusbatch (NZ Breakers), Jordan Ngatai (NZ Breakers), Reuben Te Rangi (Brisbane Bullets), Dion Prewster (Bay Hawks).
Forwards: Tom Vodanovich (NZ Breakers), Mika Vukona (Brisbane Bullets), Hyrum Harris (Illawarra Hawks).
Centres: Rob Loe (NZ Breakers), Tohi Smith-Milner (Melbourne United).
Head Coach: Pero Cameron.
This is the first time the FIBA Asia Cup has held a qualifying phase in order to proceed to the 2021 tournament with the Boomers being drawn to Group C and will compete against New Zealand, Hong Kong and Guam.
February 20th vs New Zealand
February 23rd vs Hong Kong
New Zealand Schedule
February 20th vs Australia
February 23rd vs Guam