Australia’s first foray into the Asian region has been finalised, with the Boomers’ group in the FIBA Asia Cup having been announced. Sixteen teams will battle it out in the competition, with Australia going up against Japan, Hong Kong, and Chinese Taipei in Group D starting on August 8th.
Even the most Australian basketball tragics might not know much about the three national teams our Boomers will come across, so here is a run-down of the countries the Boomers will have to defeat to advance in the FIBA Asia Cup.
World Ranking – 48 (8th in Asia)
Olympic Games – Six. Last qualified – 1976. Best Finish – 9th, 1936
FIBA World Championship – Four. Last qualified – 2006. Best Finish – 11th, 1967
FIBA Asia Championship – 28. Last qualified – 2015. Best Finish – 1st, 1965, 1971
One of the most distinguished Asian basketballing nations, Japan has made the Olympic Games six times but has not qualified for over forty years. They have had varying degrees of success over the past decade, but they are trending up. Bettering their position in the FIBA Asia Championship (now FIBA Asia Cup) in each of the previous four tournaments.
203cm Yuta Watanabe became the first Japanese player to attain a basketball scholarship from a Division One school. He has suited up for the George Washington Colonials for the past three seasons.
The Japanese national team is lacking height, with only four players above 200cm.
Roster (for 2016 FIBA World Olympic Qualifying Tournament)
|Yuta Tabuse||G||36||173cm||Link Tochigi Brex (Japan)|
|Naoto Tsuji||G||28||185cm||Toshiba BT (Japan)|
|Ryoma Hashimoto||G||29||178cm||Aisin Seahorses Mikawa (Japan)|
|Makoto Hiejima||G||25||190cm||Higashimikawa Phoenix (Japan)|
|Takatoshi Furukawa||G||30||190cm||Link Tochigi Brex (Japan)|
|Keijuro Matsui||G||31||188cm||Toyota Alvark (Japan)|
|Kenta Hirose||G||28||193cm||Hitachi SR (Japan)|
|Ryumo Ono||F||29||198cm||Chiba Jets (Japan)|
|Yuta Watanabe||F||22||201cm||George Washington University (USA)|
|Atsuya Ota||C||33||206cm||Higashimikawa Phoenix (Japan)|
|Kosouke Takeuchi||C||32||206cm||Hiroshima Dragonflies (Japan)|
|Joji Takeuchi||C||32||207cm||Hitachi SR (Japan)|
World Ranking – 65 (12th in Asia)
Olympic Games – None
FIBA World Championship – None
FIBA Asia Championship – 26. Last qualified – 2015. Best Finish – 5th, 1960.
The lowest-ranked squad in Group D, Hong Kong has been low on the Asian basketball totem pole for a long time. The last time Hong Kong has finished an Asian Championship in the top ten was back in 1983, fourteen tournaments ago.
They have even less height than Japan, with only two players above 200cm.
In 2015 at the last Asia Championship, Hong Kong won only one from eight games and lost by an average of 24 points. Hong Kong is the third lowest ranked country in the tournament, above only Syria (72nd) and Iraq (94th).
Roster (for 2015 FIBA Asia Championship)
|So Sheung Ying||G||24||187cm||Fukien (Hong Kong)|
|Chan Siu Wing||G||25||180cm||Eastern (Hong Kong)|
|Lee Ki||G||29||177cm||Eastern (Hong Kong)|
|Au-Yeung Wai Kong||F||28||187cm||Fukien (Hong Kong)|
|Leung Shiu Wah||F||23||191cm||South China (Hong Kong)|
|Xu Adam||F||24||195cm||Winling (Hong Kong)|
|Cheng Kam Hing||F||31||188cm||Eastern (Hong Kong)|
|Lin Ho Chun||F||26||186cm||South China (Hong Kong)|
|Wong Chun Wai||F||31||194cm||Winling (Hong Kong)|
|Lau Hoi To||F||26||200cm||Eastern (Hong Kong)|
|Reid Duncan Overbeck||C||26||204cm||South China (Hong Kong)|
|Szeto Wai Kit||C||29||195cm||Fukien (Hong Kong)|
World Ranking – 48 (7th in Asia)
Olympic Games – Three. Last qualified – 1956. Best Finish – 11th, 1948.
FIBA World Championship – Two. Last qualified – 1959. Best Finish – 4th, 1959.
FIBA Asia Championship – 23. Last qualified – 2015. Best Finish – 2nd, 1960, 1963.
Chinese Taipei had an unlucky 2015 Asia Championship tournament, bowing out in the preliminary round. The team had one win, the same as third place Kazakhstan and the second-best point differential in the group but because they lost to Kazakhstan, they were relegated to the 13th-16th classification. The team promptly swept Singapore and Kuwait by 46 and 30 points respectively to take 13th place.
In the past fifteen Asia Championships, Chinese Taipei has finished outside the top ten only twice, in 2015 and 2003. The squad even took the bronze medal in 1989.
Even though Chinese Taipei only has four players above 200cm, half their team are made up of players who compete in the Chinese Basketball Association, one of the most competitive leagues in Asia.
On paper, Chinese Taipei looks like the biggest hurdle for the Boomers to overcome in Group D.
Roster (for 2015 FIBA Asia Championship)
|Chen Shih-chieh||G||31||176cm||Pauian Archiland (Chinese Taipei)|
|Chen Shih-nian||G||31||181cm||Shandong Golden Stars (China)|
|Liu Cheng||G||25||192cm||Taiwan Beer (Chinese Taipei)|
|Hung Chih-shan||G||30||176cm||Shanxi Zhongyu (China)|
|Lin Chih-chieh||G||33||192cm||Zhejiang Lions (China)|
|Chen Shun-hsiang||G||30||190cm||Bank of Taiwan (Chinese Taipei)|
|Tien Lei||F||32||202cm||Tianjin Lions (China)|
|Lu Cheng-ju||F||29||194cm||Yulon Dinos (Chinese Taipei)|
|Tsai Wen-cheng||F||30||190cm||Pauian Archiland (Chinese Taipei)|
|Quincy Davis||C||32||203cm||Pauian Archiland (Chinese Taipei)|
|Wu Tai-hao||C||30||203cm||Shanxi Zhongyu (China)|
|Tseng Wen-ting||C||31||204cm||Shanghai Sharks (China)|