|Host City: Kayseri|
|Host City: Istanbul|
|Host City: Ankara|
|5. Puerto Rico||1/4||6|
|6. Cote d'Ivoire||1/4||6|
|Host City: Izmir|
|3. New Zealand||3/2||8|
|#||Name||P||Height||DOB||Place Of Birth||Club|
|05/09/1984||Gloucester, Australia||Perth Wildcats, NBL (AUS)|
|30/10/1986||Launceston, Australia||Gold Coast Blaze, NBL (AUS)|
|02/10/1987||Bedford Park, Australia|
|18/02/1985||Bedford Park, Adelaide, Australia||Lietuvos Rytas, LKL (LTU)|
|14/03/1985||Sydney, Australia||Crvena Zvezda, Superliga (SRB)|
|22/10/1983||Melbourne, Australia||CAI Zaragoza, ACB (ESP)|
|08/06/1983||Bunbury, WA, Australia||(GER)|
|09/12/1986||Gisborne, New Zealand||Lietuvas Rytas, LKL (LTU)|
|23/06/1980||Carlton, Melbourne, Australia||(ESP)|
|Min||Minutes played||Tot||Total rebounds||BS||Block Shots|
|%||Shooting percentage||PF||Personal fouls||G||Played Games|
Still talented and ready to roll
Injuries may have stripped the Boomers of their star centre and point guard, but what is left is a group of talented and internationally experienced youngsters guided by some cagey veterans. Opposing teams will take Australia lightly at their peril
They have been written off as a basketball power of the past, but many in Australia believe the Boomers are poised with a team of precocious young talent to enter a new golden age where they shall again challenge for FIBA World Championship and Olympic medals.
Since the last golden era of Australian men’s basketball – between 1988 and 2000 – when Australia finished fourth at the 1988, 1996 and 2000 Olympic Games, sixth in 1992 in Barcelona, seventh at the 1990 FIBA World Championship and fifth in 1994, things have not gone to plan for the power of southern hemisphere basketball.
The retirements of stars like Andrew Gaze, Shane Heal, Andrew Vlahov, Mark Bradtke and Luc Longley resulted in the Boomers missing the 2002 FIBA World Championship, and a ninth placed finish at the Athens Olympics. Australia’s 2006 FIBA World Championship campaign was effectively sabotaged before it began by the unavailability of Chris Anstey, Matthew Nielsen, David Andersen, Brett Maher and Glen Saville. But that created opportunities for others; the re-birth of Australian basketball had begun.
Under the guidance of savvy point guard CJ Bruton, young stars Andrew Bogut, Brad Newley, David Barlow and Mark Worthington received invaluable experience. The Boomers defeated minnows Qatar and a very talented Brazil team, behind 18 points and 4 assists from Bruton, to qualify for the eighth-finals. Unfortunately, Australia’s chances of progressing deeper into the tournament were shattered by Greece, who hit two three pointers in the final 10 seconds to steal victory in the two teams’ group game and consign the Boomers to a knockout match-up with the USA. Against the Americans Andrew Bogut gave a show of things to come, scoring 20 points despite receiving much attention from the powerful US defence, but the Boomers were nevertheless easily defeated.
In 2007, another brilliant young talent was added to the group, with Patrick Mills setting the country talking with his stunning debut in the FIBA Oceania Championship, averaging 10.3 points per game as the Boomers defeated New Zealand 2-1 to secure their place at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
After a slow start in Beijing the Boomers came to life, thrashing Iran by 38 points, European champions Russia by 15 and Lithuania by 31 to finish the pool round with a 3-2 record. The point guard pairing of Bruton and Mills proving deadly, with Mills leading the teams scoring with 14.2 ppg, and Bruton putting together a masterful 22 point, 6 assist, 0 turnover display in the do-or-die clash with Russia. Up front, Bogut was getting better as the tournament progressed, tormenting Russia with 22 points and Lithuania with 23 points on 7/9 from the field.
Unfortunately for Australian fans, that slow start would come back to haunt the Boomers, and once again they would have to face the might of the USA in the first knockout game, resulting in another early exit from the tournament and a respectable but unsatisfying seventh place.
With one of the youngest teams in world basketball and with Mills, Newley and Bogut the Boomers’ leading scorers in Beijing, all appeared ready for a medal-winning performance at the 2010 FIBA World Championship. But first a shocking injury to Milwaukee star Bogut and a shoulder injury to CJ Bruton have resulted in Australia being without two key players for the trip to Turkey.
However, while many pundits have now written Australia off, veterans,Nielsen and Andersen remain, as do Newley, Barlow, Worthington and the lightning quick Mills. A new breed of exciting youngsters will add bite to the line-up, led by Euroleague All Star Aleks Maric, Granada’s Joe Ingles, pesky defensive guards Damian Martin and Adam Gibson, and 2007 FIBA U19 World Championship superstar AJ Ogilvy.
There is no doubt the talent is there for new coach, San Antonio Spurs assistant Brett Brown, to produce a team that pushes deep into the tournament. The Boomers will play the traditional aggressive Australian style at both ends, but what remains uncertain is who will be their major focus on offence, and whether Mills and Newley can have the same impact they had in Beijing without Bogut and Anstey spreading the defence.
Australia’s pool match-ups with Germany, Serbia, Jordan, Angola and Argentina take on extra significance, with the fourth placed team from Group A scheduled to face the top ranked team from Group B – most likely the USA – in the eight-finals. Australia’s basketball public are ready for, and demanding success from their national team, and the Boomers must avoid another crossover match with the most talented team on the planet.
Head coach: Brett BROWN