The Australian Boomers are heading on the road on their quest for Olympic glory but they’re not leaving us high and dry. Fear not, they will be playing two farewell games on the 12th and 14th of July in Melbourne against a Pac-12 Conference All Star team from the USA.
Wesley Gordon from the University of Colorado will be aiming to provide a close and competitive game for the Melbourne fans, as well as something that can push the Boomers in preparation for taking on the world’s finest in Rio.
“This is a great opportunity for me. I get to compare myself basically to the pros,” Gordon said, via BuffZone.com.
“It will be a good test for me for sure. At this point, every opportunity I get is an opportunity to show what I have. I’m going to make the most of it.”
Gordon who is one of the most important pieces returning to the Buffs next season said that while this tour will be good preparation for the Boomers it will help develop all of the Pac-12 as in what is many of their senior college seasons.
Below is a quick breakdown on the achievements of Gordon and the other members of the Pac-12 team so Aussie Hoops fans can get acquainted with who will be going up against our Boomers stars.
Wesley Gordon (Colorado), Forward, 206cm, 100kg, Junior
27.9mpg, 7.2ppg, 7.6rpg, 1.3apg, 2.0bpg, 0.4spg
A bull of a player, Gordon is the defensive enforcer that the All Stars need. He was third in the Pac-12 in blocked shots and was tenth in rebounds for the conference so look for him to be active in the paint and on the glass. He’s a big boy and will need to use his strength to go up against the likes of Nathan Jawai and Aron Baynes.
Kadeem Allen (Arizona), Guard, 191cm, 91kg, Junior
24.9mpg, 8.4ppg, 3.1rpg, 3.6apg, 0.8bpg, 1.0spg
The starting point guard for the Arizona Wildcats, Allen didn’t let the team down as he led them in steals for the season. The stocky guard had an up and down first season in division one; on one hand he scored in double figures in 14 games and had a ten assist game against #23 ranked Oregon. On the other, he had seven turnovers in Arizona’s NCAA tournament game and fouled out in only seven minutes against Washington State. He most likely won’t start but he will be a key bench player.
Tra Holder (Arizona State), Guard, 185cm, 82kg, Sophomore
31.8mpg, 14.2ppg, 3.5rpg, 3.7apg, 0.1bpg, 1.0spg
Holder is a high tempo scorer and the best player on his Arizona State team. He led the Sun Devils in points, assists, minutes played and free throw makes and attempts, and was the first Sun Devil to score 20 points or more in five straight games since James Harden way back in 2008. Holder will most likely start for the All Stars and will be one of their go to guys to score the ball.
Stephen Domingo (California), Guard, 201cm, 98kg, Junior
10.6mpg, 1.7ppg, 1.8rpg, 0.6apg, 0.3bpg, 0.2spg
A transfer from Georgetown after his second season, Domingo more than doubled his minute average from his sophomore year to his junior year. That doesn’t mean much as he averaged 4.5 minutes in year two, up to 10.6 minutes in his third year. Domingo played in Australia when California toured here, averaging 4.3 points and 3.8 rebounds and will most likely be only played sparingly for the All Stars.
Stephen Thompson Jr (Oregon State), Guard, 193cm, 77kg, Freshman
21.7mpg, 10.6ppg, 1.9rpg, 0.8apg, 0.3bpg, 1.2spg
The Oregon State Beavers’ freshman was a great long range threat, hitting more three pointers than any Beaver freshman in school history (48). He was very consistent as well, scoring in double figures 21 out of his 32 games. He may not see a lot of minutes in the Boomers games but he will make the most of it.
Jordan McLaughlin (USC), Guard, 185cm, 77kg, Sophomore
32.mpg, 13.4ppg, 3.8rpg, 4.7apg, 0.1bpg, 1.6spg
Another guy who the All Stars will be counting on, McLaughlin may be small but he’s a flat out baller. Not only did he lead the Trojans in scoring, he was fifth in assists for the whole conference in his second year. Look for ‘J-Mac’ to start with Tra Holder in a tiny backcourt to get the team zipping around.
Lorenzo Bonam (Utah), Guard, 193cm, 86kg, Sophomore
26.6mpg, 10.2ppg, 3.3rpg, 3.0apg, 0.5bpg, 1.0spg
Bonam has a crazy back story and will probably take a bit of shine off his play here in Australia. His first basketball coach who happened to be his father, died of a heart attack while at a game. His house burned down and his brother went to prison. He went to community college for his first and second years and is doing everything he can now in division one. He started 22 of his 25 games this season and even had a gaming winning layup against Colorado where he threw in 17 points and 5 rebounds. Not just a great story, he’s a slippery quick guard who will give the Boomers a few headaches next month.
Dorian Pickens (Stanford), Guard/Forward, 196cm, 98kg, Sophomore
29.3mpg, 12.3ppg, 3.6rpg, 1.9apg, 0.1bpg, 1.0spg
Dorian Pickens is another fantastic story and definitely the most improved Pac-12 player last season as his minutes from his freshman to his sophomore years went from 8.6 to 29.3 while increasing his points from 2.0 to 12.3. If he keeps this rate up he’ll be leading the country by his senior year! He’s a superhot shooter, with examples of 22 points in the first half against USC and going 6/7 from the three in his 24 points against Texas. You can’t leave this guy open. He will be a great addition to the team.
Drew Eubanks (Oregon State), Forward, 208cm, 109kg, Freshman
21.4mpg, 7.6ppg, 4.6rpg, 0.4apg, 1.2bpg, 0.4spg
Speaking of big guys, Eubanks is massive at 109kg and the heaviest on the team. He started 30 of his 32 games and shot the ball extremely efficiently at 58% which was fourth best in the conference. He was eleventh in the conference for blocked shots and his 39 blocks were the second most for an Oregon State Beaver freshman in the school’s history. With more talented big men ahead of him in this All Star team he might not get the most minutes but playing against the Boomers’ big men will give him plenty of experience for his sophomore season.
Matisse Thybulle (Washington), Forward, 196cm, 88kg, Freshman
24.1mpg, 6.2ppg, 3.2rpg, 1.6apg, 0.9bpg, 1.1spg
On the opposite end of the spectrum, Thybulle is a very slight small forward who started every game for the Huskies, he had his moments (scoring 16 points on three occasions) but for the most part was very non-descript. He’ll most likely get spot minutes here and there but don’t count on him to log heavy minutes against the Boomers.
Josh Hawkinson (Washington State), Forward, 208cm, 105kg, Junior
33.3mpg, 15.4ppg, 11.1rpg, 1.6apg, 1.1bpg, 0.7spg
The key to the All Stars’ chances, Hawkinson was one of the best players of the conference, earning an honourable mention for the All Pac-12 team. He led the Cougars in minutes played, points and rebounds while ranking eleventh in scoring, first in rebounding, ninth in field goal percentage and fourteenth in blocked shots for the whole conference. He’ll be looked as the go to guy for the All Stars and will have a tough time against our big men. He averaged the most points and rebounds of any Pac-12 All Stars player.
Chance Comanche (Arizona), Centre, 211cm, 93kg, Freshman
6.0mpg, 1.9ppg, 1.6rpg, 0.2apg, 0.3bpg, 0.0spg
As you can see from Comanche’s stats, he didn’t play much. He’s also super skinny with Kadeem Allen almost as heavy as him but 20cm shorter. The Wildcat played pretty good for his limited minutes, grabbing 10 rebounds in only 13 minutes against Missouri as well as blocking two shots in 11 minutes against Player of the Year Jakob Poeltl. Just like Stephen Domingo, Comanche will be played very sparingly.
Coach – Mike Montgomery
The most impressive person on this Pac-12 team is their coach, Mike Montgomery. Not only does he have NBA experience when he coached the likes of Jason Richardson and Baron Davis at the Golden State Warriors from 2004-2006. He coached Montana, Stanford and California for 32 years for 676 wins which puts him 21st for NCAA division one history. This year he was inducted into the College Basketball Hall of Fame. He made the NCAA tournament 16 times, won his team’s conference championship seven times and made the final four once. He even coached former Sydney King Josh Childress at Stanford where they went 30-2 in 2003-04. Retiring in 2013-14, Montgomery has come back to coaching again to try and lead the Pac-12 All Stars against our Boomers.
Honestly, this team is not the pick of the bunch of the Pac-12 with no players being selected to the All-Conference teams. They won’t be too much hassle for the Boomers but it will be great not only for the fans of Melbourne to watch their national team play before the Olympics but I’m sure it will be a fantastic experience for all of these Pac-12 players.
July 12, 2016 at 7:30pm @ Hisense Arena, Melbourne
July 14, 2016 at 7:30pm @ Hisense Arena, Melbourne