Mitch Creek makes a comeback to the Boomers, joining a slew of newcomers for the sixth and final window of the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 Asian Qualifiers.
Creek, fresh off a stint with the Brooklyn Nets in the NBA, is expected to carry much of the load for the Green & Gold, who are looking to end their Asian Qualifiers on a very strong note.
Mitch bleeds the green and gold. He’s been doing wonderfully well in the US but for him to now be back in a position to represent Australia is awesome – Lemanis
Veterans Nathan Sobey and Daniel Johnson were also supposed to be on the roster, but they have been replaced by young guns Jack McVeigh and Harry Froling.
One constraint coach Lemanis had to consider in preparing his team was the upcoming NBL Playoffs in Australia. Coach Lemanis had to make sure the Boomers wouldn’t feature any players who are set to see action in the NBL’s postseason games.
“The NBL and clubs have been amazing in their support of the national team,” said Lemanis. “We were conscious to work with the clubs, ensuring the welfare of all players and minimizing the disruption for those players in the NBL finals. As a result, it opens up a wonderful opportunity for some new talent to shine.”
Aside from McVeigh and Froling, other players who will wear the Australian colors for the first time at the continental senior level are: Tom Wilson, Emmett Naar, Isaac Humphries, Tim Coenraad, Daniel Grida, Jock Landale, Mangok Mathiang and Jarrad Weeks.
Wilson, Naar and Humphries have played at the U17 and U19 World Cups before, but the final Asian Qualifiers window will mark their debut on the senior stage.
“To give these guys exposure at an international level is exciting for them and it’s exciting for us as a coaching staff,” added Lemanis. “It is important for the future of our sport that we continue to develop and grow as broad a base as possible. We want the cupboard to remained stocked, so to speak. Giving this 12 the opportunity to experience this level of play is important.”
A couple of the players on Lemanis’s team have come from their respective club teams in Europe – Landale and Mathiang – while Humphries is coming from his campaign in the NBA G-League.
Australia have already successfully qualified for the World Cup later this year in China, but these last two fixtures are important in terms of helping maximize their potential for favorable seeding at the World Cup. Coach Lemanis is also dead serious about rounding up their Asian Qualifiers campaign on a strong note.
“The fact that we have qualified helps, but we are still there to win and of course we want to represent Australian basketball on the world stage the right way,” he said.
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