Basketball Australia has named an impressive 26-man Olympic men’s squad which features seven NBA players, a litany of European-based young guns and a plethora of the finest athletes the NBL has to offer.
However, this list which is aimed at delivering Australia’s first Olympic medal glaringly omits one name – Andrew “A.J.” Ogilvy.
A.J. has been a revelation for the Illawarra Hawks this season. Finishing equal-third in MVP voting and clearly establishing himself as one of the top tier players in our national competition.
His ability to run the floor within the Hawks high-octane offence, score with his back to the basket and out-muscle the vast majority of players in the league says Ogilvy isn’t just one of the best players in the NBL, he is one of the best at his position outside of the NBA .
One NBL big man who wasn’t forgotten was the newly crowned NBL champion Nathan Jawai.
Whilst Nate Jawai is a formidable specimen and a key part of the Wildcats championship, Nate didn’t quite dominated the league as Ogilvy did this season.
In all fairness Jawai’s health issues no doubt played a part and that shouldn’t be overlooked as those health issues almost resulted in Jawai losing his life as a result. That being said while Jawai’s mountainous size would definitely offer Australia a unique advantage, much like we saw in the Grand Final series, this would likely be for only for short spurts.
With no disrespect to Nate, his inclusion at the expense of A.J Ogilvy is surprising to say the least.
Perhaps more surprising, however, is the inclusion of Sydney Kings’ centre Angus Brandt who had a serviceable season for the cellar-dwellers but hardly the type that Boomers spots are usually reserved for, salting the sting of A.J.’s questionable exclusion just a little more.
Angus was one of the last players cut from the Australian team before the 2014 World Cup, and it is likely he has retained his spot in the interest of consistency and continuity in the national program.
Also retaining their spots are all twelve players who competed at the 2015 Oceania championships where Australia secured their Olympic berth.
The competition is fierce for spots in the Australian team, this is especially true for big men. Already in the squad are Boomers stalwart David Anderson, Lithuania-based scoring machine Brock Motum, and Andrew Bogut, Aron Baynes and Cam Bairstow who need no introduction.
A spot in the Boomers squad is only the beginning to a long road to Rio, and those who start the journey know they wont necessarily be there when the ball tips in August. Yet the NBL’s best centre wont even get to take the first step.
Australian Boomers squad 2016:
- David Andersen, ASVEL (France)
- Cameron Bairstow, Chicago Bulls
- Aron Baynes, Detroit Pistons
- Todd Blanchfield, Melbourne United
- Andrew Bogut, Golden State Warriors
- Angus Brandt, Sydney Kings
- Ryan Broekhoff, Lokomotiv Kuban (Russia)
- Mitchell Creek, Adelaide 36ers
- Matthew Dellavedova, Cleveland Cavaliers
- Danté Exum, Utah Jazz
- Adam Gibson, Adelaide 36ers
- Cameron Gliddon, Cairns Taipans
- Chris Goulding, Melbourne United
- Joe Ingles, Utah Jazz
- Nathan Jawai, Perth Wildcats
- Daniel Kickert, Melbourne United
- Kevin Lisch, Illawara Hawks
- Aleks Maric, Buducnost Podgorica (Montenegro)
- Damian Martin, Perth Wildcats
- Patrick Mills, San Antonio Spurs
- Brock Motum, Zalgiris Kaunas (Lithuania)
- Mitchell Norton, Townsville Crocodiles
- Ben Simmons, LSU
- Clint Steindl, Townsville Crocodiles
- Lucas Walker, Adelaide 36ers