Boomers coach Andrej Lemanis has named a 20-man Boomers in the preparation of the FIBA Asia Cup to be held in Lebanon from August 8-20.
A glaring omission from the team list is Illawarra Hawk’s, AJ Ogilvy. For the second time in 15 months, Ogilvy has been a member of the All-NBL first team, yet not a part of the national basketball team.
“I’m very disappointed for AJ, I know the guy is passionate about playing for Australia, he probably did have an up and down year but he is one of the premier big men in the NBL” said Beveridge on a recent Aussie Hoopla podcast.
“I’m sure he’s disappointed but he’s not going to whinge and whine, he’s just going to go about his business and that’s what I love about AJ”.
With timeframes not allowing any of our NBA stars to be available in August, the squad has been made up from our remaining Boomers stars from Rio who are playing in the NBL like Melbourne United’s Chris Goulding and David Andersen and players who have stood out to Boomers coaching staff over the previous 18 months.
With that in mind, you would think Ogilvy and fellow All-NBL first team recipient Daniel Johnson would be among those names listed, but they are not. Both men were missing from this Boomers camp and the 26 man camp named in March 2016, prior to the Boomers Rio Olympic campaign.
We reached out to AJ who preferred not to comment on the issue but confirmed he still aims to play for Australia and would use this as fuel to motivate him during the NBL season.
Australian Boomers FIBA Asia Cup Camp Roster:
|David Andersen||Andersen||Melbourne United|
|Todd Blanchfield||Blanchfield||Sydney Kings|
|Angus Brandt||Brandt||Perth Wildcats|
|Jason Cadee||Cadee||Sydney Kings|
|Mitch Creek||Creek||Adelaide 36ers|
|Cam Gliddon||Gliddon||Cairns Taipans|
|Chris Goulding||Goulding||Melbourne United|
|Matt Hodgson||Hodgson||Adelaide 36ers|
|Tom Jervis||Jervis||Brisbane Bullets|
|Nick Kay||Kay||Illawarra Hawks|
|Daniel Kickert||Kickert||Brisbane Bullets|
|Kevin Lisch||Lisch||Sydney Kings|
|Majok Majok||Majok||Melbourne United|
|Mitch McCarron||McCarron||Cairns Taipans|
|Brad Newley||Newley||Sydney Kings|
|Mitch Norton||Norton||Illawarra Hawks|
|Nathan Sobey||Sobey||Adelaide 36ers|
|Jesse Wagstaff||Wagstaff||Perth Wildcats|
Players like Angus Brandt and Matt Hodgson have been chosen in front Ogilvy and Johnson despite the fact their own NBL coaches don’t feel they possess the talent to start for their own NBL team.
“AJ’s worked hard over the last few years and although to defend the selectors it’s always difficult to pick a (team) but in terms of who I would have chosen AJ would have been a part of that” said Beveridge.
There are rumours that Ogilvy and Boomers coach Andrej Lemanis had a falling out a couple years ago and potentially that is the answer but isn’t that a poor answer?
If this is the case isn’t there someone who could intervene and ensure the decisions which are made are done in the best interests of our national team?
It’s not uncommon to hear keyboard warriors ignore something like this, comments like “we’re only playing Asian team like the Philippines and Japan, Boomers can beat them with or without guys like AJ and Daniel Johnson” were easy to be found online when the team announcement was made but this is missing the point.
80% of the players who will represent Australia at the Asian qualifier may not get to play at a major tournament like the Olympics or FIBA World Cup. This would be perhaps their only chance they have of wearing green and gold of achieving a childhood dream of playing for their country.
“I know AJ’s going to work hard, he’s going to come back with fire in the belly and if he plays exceptionally well that helps the Illawarra Hawks,” said Beveridge, responding to what AJ plans to do from here.
Something that many left their friends and family behind at 15 years of age and moved to Canberra to be a part of the Australian Institue of Sport.
Don’t tell me players like Ogilvy and Johnson don’t dream about representing their country, don’t tell me they wouldn’t frame and display their Boomers jersey from these Asia qualifiers with pride at home and don’t tell me they wouldn’t relish the opportunity to tell their grandkids, probably whilst they are watching the basketball during the Olympic games that I played for Australia once too.
It’s not that Australia can get past the Asian qualifiers without guys like Ogilvy and Johnson, it’s the fact that something petty seems to be standing in the way of dreams and goals that these people have worked tirelessly for over 10-15 years to achieve.
Other topics discussed on the podcast include;
- What players the Illawarra Hawks are looking at to finalise their roster.
- How the NBA summer league isn’t the best place to find NBL imports from.
- If long-time Hawks stalwart Oscar Forman will return to play for the Hawks this season.
- What are the most important factors when looking for an import?
- How a smaller team salary makes recruiting players for the Illawarra Hawks different to coaching at other teams.
Bevo even gives his own analysis of the form of last years imports Rotnei Clark, Marvelle Harris and Michael Holyfield and how he rates his own recruitment of last season’s imports.