Taran Armstrong and Reyne Smith have both been selected to represent Australia's senior men's basketball team, the Boomers, in the FIBA Asia Cup qualifying match against Group C rivals New Zealand in Cairns on Saturday, February 20.
Their selection is part of Basketball Australia's decision to showcase a team of its top emerging talent from its Canberra-based Centre of Excellence, where Smith currently resides and Armstrong recently attended, and NBA Global Academy.
The pair are both at a training camp in the nation's capital currently preparing for the game and were thrilled with their selection after admitting that the match against the Tall Blacks wasn't even on their radar.
"I only found out last week from coach Adam Caporn when he rang and told me it was a chance to represent the Boomers - it doesn't get much better than that," 19-year-old Armstrong said.
"It was a pretty crazy time because I had no idea there was even a game on."
"Adam came up to me and a teammate before training on Monday and told us we had been picked for the game," 18-year-old Smith added.
"We just looked at each other and smiled, and while I didn't quite know what was going on, I soon got super-excited."
The pair have known each other since under 12 level, playing NWBU junior inter-town for opposing clubs before coming together to represent Tasmania and Australia at junior championships.
Armstrong said it's crazy to think they will now make their national senior men's debut together.
"We grew up 15 minutes away from each other and we've played in junior teams our whole career and played well together," he said.
"To be given this opportunity together is just awesome."
Qualification to the Asia Cup will secure the Boomers a place in the qualifying stage of the 2023 FIBA Men's Basketball World Cup.
Article courtesy of The Advocate Tasmania, authored by Brad Cole
Image - Taran Armstrong (L) & Reyne Smith (R)