This weekend Australian Boomers coach Andrej Lemanis was tasked with reducing the current 18-man Boomers’ roster down to 12 players for the Rio Olympics.
The team is set to be officially announced tomorrow morning, however, the final roster will include some surprise inclusions and see some veteran Boomers, considered “locks” by many at the beginning of camp, omitted from likely their last chance at making an Olympic team.
Surprise selections include Damian Martin, who will wear a Boomers jersey for the first time since 2011 and Kevin Lisch who four months ago wasn’t even an Australian citizen.
Nathan Jawai who has fought through a life-threatening head injury for the past 18 months in the hopes of being able to represent Australia, will sadly not be a part of the Rio campaign, nor will new Sydney Kings star Brad Newley, perhaps the biggest omission surprise.
Newley, who was looking at participating in his third Olympics, has been an important part of the Boomers program for over a decade. Newley has suffered the heartbreaking news that he will not be a part of the team this weekend after representing Australia in every major Basketball tournament since 2005.
Newley, who as recently as August was a part of the team’s regular rotation, seeing high amounts of playing time against New Zealand in the Olympic qualifiers. The surprise omission is thought to be due to the improvement of Ryan Broekhoff and Joe Ingles who play primarily small forward, the position Newley has played throughout his Boomers career, meaning fewer minutes available.
Combine this with Lemanis wanting his Boomers team to focus on speed and full court ball pressure with plans to rotate four defensive-minded guards which aren’t quite suited the what the 31-year-old Newley can provide the team at this age.
With this group, Lemanis is confident he can lead the national team to a medal, something no Australian men’s team has done in a major basketball tournament,
“Absolutely,” he said. “It’s something we’ve spoken about as a team and we believe we have enough talent and enough chemistry to go to Rio and be successful. I don’t think it’s any secret that as a team we’ve set our sights on the gold medal.”
|Name||Position||Height||Hometown||Boomers Debut (FIBA)||Games (Olympics Only)|
|Andrew Bogut||C||207cm||Melbourne (AUS), Australia||2004||12|
|Aron Baynes||C||207cm||Gisborne, New Zealand||2009||6|
|Brock Motum||PF||208cm||Sunnybank, Australia||2014||0|
|Cam Bairstow||PF||206cm||Sunnybank, Australia||2013||0|
|Chris Goulding||SG||192cm||Launceston, Australia||2014||0|
|Damian Martin||PG||188cm||Gloucester, Australia||2009||0|
|David Andersen||PF||213cm||Carlton, Melbourne, Australia||2003||12|
|Joe Ingles||SF||203cm||Bedford Park, Australia||2008||5|
|Kevin Lisch||SG||188cm||Belleville, Illinois||2016||0|
|Matthew Dellavedova||PG||193cm||Maryborough, Australia||2009||6|
|Patty Mills||PG||183cm||Canberra, Australia||2007||12|
|Ryan Broekhoff||SF||201cm||Frankston, Australia||2013||0|
San Antonio Spurs star Patty Mills has been vocal about the Boomers focus on the team’s first ever Olympic medal.
“Our goals are to achieve something Australia’s never done before – to win a medal,” San Antonio’s Mills said.
“Our goal is gold – we’ve dreamt about it from when we were little kids, laying in bed dreaming about it, getting that gold medal put around our necks on the podium. To put that into reality [would be amazing].
The Boomers may still make changes up until August 5 but this is the squad Lemanis “hopes” will be able to take to Rio, the only question mark being can Andrew Bogut recover from the knee injury suffered in this year’s NBA Finals in time for at least the Olympics elimination rounds.
Aleks Maric and Jawai are expected to play the role of insurance policy in the case that Bogut is unable to commit to the team, however, Lemanis has been clear that he will give Bogut every chance possible to be a part of the team.
“It’s worthwhile giving him every opportunity to play and if he doesn’t play in any lead-up games we are still OK with that” Lemanis told The Age.
“I’m OK with that but it’s Andrew’s call to decide how he feels. If he says he’s in then I’m good with that.”
— k) July 9, 2016
The Boomers will face a team of Pac-12 College All-Stars this week at Hisense Arena, July 12 and 14.