Boomers on the brink
05 Aug 2014
You get the sense that the current Australian Boomers are on the cusp of being highly successful on the international stage.
A 17-man squad was recently in camp at the Basketball Australia Centre of Excellence at the AIS in Canberra preparing for the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup in Spain and was full of confidence about how they would fare in the tournament starting late August.
Even without injured stars Patty Mills and Andrew Bogut, the squad has an exciting look about it.
Start with experienced players such as European-based veterans Brad Newley and David Anderson along with ex-NBA centre Nathan Jawai, then throw in exciting youngsters such 2014 NBA draft pick number five Dante Exum, Chicago Bulls draftee Cameron Bairstow, Cleveland Cavaliers player Matthew Delladova, NBA aspirants Chris Goulding and Brock Motum and a 17 year old teenage prodigy Ben Simmons and there is a lot to like about this current group.
Exum in particular looked relaxed as he went about his business, intense when he needed to be in the opposed training sessions, yet happy to share a joke with fellow squad members when the pressure was off after training.
Having spent three years at the AIS on scholarship, Exum refers to his training environment as his “second home” after his family residence in Melbourne.
“It feels like I never left and it is good to be back,” Exum said.
“I wouldn’t be here if it didn’t make me proud to put on a Boomer singlet. My biggest thing is just trying to bring home a medal for my country.
“It’s been a wild ride so far but it is good.”
Aron Baynes arrived at the camp fresh from his “Larry Down Under” NBA trophy tour in Australia with fellow San Antonio Spurs and Boomer team mate Patty Mills.
“When I started playing, winning an NBA championship was one of my dreams and doing it with Patty Mills who I was here at the institute with was unreal,” Baynes said.
“We wanted to show Australians how we felt about the support they had shown us.”
On the World Cup in Spain, Baynes was very clear about the team’s goal.
“At the end of the day we want a medal,” he said.
Brock Motum is another Australian looking for an NBA opportunity. He has been asked to train with fellow Boomer Exum at the Utah Jazz and play in the NBA Summer League with the hope of picking up a contract.
“The camp is a good experience and is great preparation for both the World Cup and returning to the summer league with Utah Jazz, “Motum said.
“We are a good chance of a medal in the World Cup.”
Adding to the positive vibe in the camp, Basketball Australia announced that Boomers have a naming rights sponsor in internet accommodation company Airbnb.
The 2014 FIBA World Cup will be held in Spain starting on 30 August. Australia’s group also includes Lithuania, Mexico, Angola, South Korea and Slovenia.
The Boomers team named for the 2014 FIBA World Cup is:
David Andersen – Strasbourg (France)
Cameron Bairstow – Chicago Bulls (NBA)
Aron Baynes – San Antonio Spurs (NBA)
Ryan Broekhoff – Besiktas (Turkey)
Matthew Dellavedova – Cleveland Cavaliers (NBA)
Dante Exum – Utah Jazz (NBA)
Adam Gibson – Adelaide 36ers (NBL)
Chris Goulding – CAI Zaragoza (Spain)
Joe Ingles – Maccabi Tel-Aviv (Israel)
Nathan Jawai – Galatasaray (Turkey)
Brock Motum – Bologna (Italy)
Brad Newley – Gran Canaria (Spain)