Over the course of the next few weeks the Australian Boomers Basketball team will be attempting to snare both an Olympic medal and their best ever Olympic performance in London.
At the same time a group of Australian players who are relatively unknown right now but no doubt will be household names when they most likely will make up the core of the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio. The Australian Under 17 squad will take on the worlds best at the 2012 FIBA U17 World Championship which is being held June 29 – July 8 in Kaunas, Lithuania.
The star of the team may be Dante Exum, son of former Melbourne Tigers import Cecil Exum who also won a NCAA Championship at North Carolina alongside Michael Jordan. Dante however does not need to rest his hat on his father’s achievements as he already has made his own mark on the Australian basketball landscape after becoming the youngest Australian Boomer ever when was invited to a 2011 Boomers camp in Perth. Boomers coach Brett Brown has said Exum is “highly skilled and he will represent Australia one day”.
Dante Exum becomes the youngest Boomer ever!
Exum won’t be expected to carry the load himself however with talented players who also share connections to NBL players with Ben Simmons and Jack Purchase both sons of Melbourne Tigers championship players Dave Simmons and Nigel Purchase.
|Felix VON HOFE||VIC|
The team will be coached by former Cairns Taipans NBL coach Guy Molloy who currently coaches the Ballarat Miners SEABL Men’s team. The squad hopes to improve on the sixth-place effort achieved by the Australian team two years ago. That team was led by potent scoring from Townsville’s Mitch Norton, who will be a big key to success of the Townsville Crocodiles this season and South Australian Daniel Carlin who currently plies his trade with the Casper College Thunderbirds in the US College system.
Australia, who are currently ranked 9th in the tournament, have no chances of easing into their games with an opening match-up against the reigning Under 17 World Champions, the United States. Which features talented Small Forward Jabari Parker who is currently considered to be the High School player in the United States, not to mention a lock for the NBA Draft in 2014.
A positive about playing the US in the first game will be the fact that they will not have to face them until the medal rounds if the team advances that far.“No doubt we feel we have a deeper and more talented team than in 2010, but in tournament play, anything can happen,” said Molloy, who was at the Helm of the coach in Germany in 2010 when the Australian team were bounced by the United States in the Final Eight.
The team must also advance past China, Czech Republic, Egypt and France who round out the teams in their pool. No doubt the eyes of Australian basketball fans will be focus on the Boomers and Opals National team’s this week, but there are some young tyro’s who are bound to make so noise themselves across the other side of the globe.
Australia at the 2011 FIBA Oceania U16 Championships