The Australian Boomers turn their attention to the 2023 FIBA Basketball World Cup with the Asian qualifiers set to continue in Melbourne this weekend.
The Boomers will play three games at John Cain Arena — twice against China and one fixture against Japan.
Head coach Brian Goorjian will take a young squad, primarily made up of NBL players into the three games, leaning on the veteran leadership of NBA champion Matthew Dellavedova.
“We’ve got a young group here and nobody represents the ‘Rose Gold’ better than Delly,” head coach Brian Goorjian said.
“He has the history of the culture of the Boomers, and we want a flow over from what took place at the Olympic Games, keep that momentum, keep carrying on and keep raising the standards as far as the culture of the team goes.
“We have a five-day window, so we’ve got to move quick. First day, he’s the man. We’re going to use him a lot in that role, try to touch on the culture with these young guys every day and he’ll be leading that.”
Dellavedova, a veteran of three Olympic campaigns and two World cup runs is the only member of the bronze medal-winning team from Tokyo 2020 in the squad, taking up the mantle of team captain for the qualifying window.
“It’s a great honour to be the captain, a great responsibility and not something I take lightly,” Dellavedova said.
“There’s nothing better than pulling on the green and gold and doing it in front of a home crowd, it doesn’t happen very often, so we definitely want to make the most of it.
“These games are really important for qualification and seeding. We’ve got a great group and we’re really looking forward to it.”
Of the 12-man squad, six players will be making their national team debuts, headlined by 2022 NBL Most Improved Player of the Year Keanu Pinder (Cairns), Wani Swaka Lo Buluk (Illawarra), Will McDowell-White (New Zealand), Jack White (Melbourne), Clint Steindl (Tasmania) and Sam McDaniel (Tasmania).
— NBA Australia (@NBA_AU) June 27, 2022
One man who is making his long-awaited return to the green and gold is big man Thon Maker, who missed out on Tokyo 2020.
After a few years away from the national team, Maker is excited to continue to build on the winning culture built in Tokyo.
“I’m really proud of those guys. Growing up watching the Boomers we always wanted the trophy back, we wanted something, we never wanted them to come home empty-handed, and these guys finally did it, they broke through and brought home a bronze,” Maker told ESPN.
“But we still want more.”
To purchase tickets for the Australian Boomers’ World Cup qualifying games against China and Japan, head to Ticketek.
Australian Boomers World Cup Qualifiers roster
|Matthew Dellavedova (c)||Melbourne United||Guard|
|Thon Maker||Long Island Nets||Center|
|Mitch McCarron||Adelaide 36ers||Guard|
|William McDowell-White||New Zealand Breakers||Guard|
|Sam McDaniel||Tasmania JackJumpers||Guard|
|Wani Swaka Lo Buluk||Illawarra Hawks||Guard/Forward|
|Todd Blanchfield||Perth Wildcats||Guard/Forward|
|Clint Steindl||Tasmania JackJumpers||Guard/Forward|
|Jack White||Melbourne United||Forward|
|Jack McVeigh||Tasmania JackJumpers||Guard|
|Keanu Pinder||Cairns Taipans||Forward|
|Sam Froling||Illawarra Hawks||Forward/Center|