NBA superstar Josh Giddey says the Boomers can dare to dream ahead of the Paris Olympics in 2024.
Breakout NBA star Josh Giddey says winning gold at the next Olympics is a “realistic” goal for the Aussie men’s basketball team.
Prior to last year’s Games, the Boomers had never won an Olympic medal, but with a team that counted Patty Mills, Joe Ingles and Matisse Thybulle among its ranks, the Aussies managed to clinch bronze in Tokyo.
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Giddey missed out on Olympic selection due mostly to scheduling issues; the young Aussie was preparing for the NBA draft at the same time as coach Brian Goorjian held a camp to determine the final members of his squad.
Giddey attended the camp but had “a million things on his plate” at the time and was overlooked for selection in favour of NBA player Josh Green.
“I don’t blame (Goorjian) for leaving me out. I wasn’t great at camp. I had a million things on my plate,” Giddey told ESPN.
“I knew I had to earn my spot and he didn’t think I earned it and that’s fair enough. There’s no hard feelings.
“The talent we have is so good that there’s always going to be good players being left out of those teams.”
Giddey said the depth of Aussie talent was such that the Boomers could aim to improve on their bronze medal finish next time around.
While it remains to be seen whether veterans like Mills and Ingles will feature, Thybulle, Green, Dante Exum and Jock Landale are among the world-class players young enough to be locks for selection at the Paris Olympics in 2024 – providing they stay fit and in form.
“I think as these older guys start to come to the back end of their careers, there’s not going to be a drop-off with the new generation we’ve got coming through,” Giddey said.
“I think a gold medal right now is as real as it’s ever been in Australian basketball. The World Cup’s next year, but at the Olympic Games, I really think it’s a realistic thing for us to do.”
While he missed out on Olympic action, Giddey was still a member of the Boomers squad in the lead-up to the Games and played big minutes in a practice match against Nigeria.
He was eventually picked as a replacement player for the Olympics and said that being around the Boomers had made him hungry to return to the national set-up.
“The Boomers’ culture is really tight, even at training camp, going out for dinners, doing team events and stuff like that,” he said.
“Everyone knows about the Boomers’ culture, but once you’re in it, and for me when I got my first taste of it, you really understand how tight-knit the group is and how good those leaders have been.”