On the same day four members of the SIT Zero Fees Southland Sharks squad were named in the Tall Blacks for the FIBA Asia Cup next month, two of their 2017 team mates and one former Shark were selected to represent our Trans Tasman neighbours.
Nick Kay and Mitch Norton join 2015 Shark Todd Blanchfield in the Australian Boomers to contest the event in Lebanon next month.
They join newly-named Tall Blacks captain Reuben Te Rangi, Derone Raukawa and NZ debutants James Hunter and Luke Aston who will all take on the the powerhouses of the Asian region for the first time from August 8-20.
Like his New Zealand counterpart, Boomers' coach Andrej Lemanis had to contend with injury and unavailability meaning the Asia Cup presents an opportunity for young players to get Boomers experience.
“It is a great opportunity for the first-timers to get that international experience with the Boomers which will serve us well as we progress through the qualification process,” said Lemanis.
“I’ve been so impressed and humbled with the attitude that everyone came into camp with. I know how much it means to them to be in a Boomers environment and every time you are around them, it reminds you just how lucky we are to be involved in a wonderful program with wonderful people.”
While the team of 12 selected will represent Australia at the Asia Cup, the wider group of players including those who were injured will be in contention to be selected for the World Cup qualifiers in November.
“Part of this camp’s purpose was to set the scene for the next 18 months or so through the first set of qualifiers,” explained Lemanis.
“We wanted to continue to build with the broader group and establish the team’s trademarks as well as offensive and defensive understandings.
“To that end, some players who were injured still gave up their time to be connected to the program. It was pleasing to see those who were a part of the Olympic campaign continue to stay engaged and give to the group.
“Even when they weren’t able to contribute on court due to injury, they continued to give to the group by communicating and sharing their knowledge, which is a really positive sign moving forward.
“The NBL clubs have been very supportive including allowing injured players to come into camp and trusting us to do the right thing with those guys.
This Boomers team will see a number of players suiting up for Australia in senior competition for the first time however many have history in the program as members of the Emerging Boomers as well as the World University games.
Players will remain in camp before heading to Lebanon on August 2 for a series of practices and a lead-in game before their first game against Japan on August 8.
Boomers Schedule for FIBA Asia Cup (times in NZ):
August 9 – Australia vs Japan @ 1:00am
August 11 – Australia vs Hong Kong @ 1:00am
August 13 – Australia vs Chinese Taipei @ 1:00am
August 17 – Quarter-Finals
August 19 – Semi-Finals
August 20 – Bronze and Gold medal games
Final Australian Boomers team for FIBA Asia Cup:
David Andersen – Melbourne United
Todd Blanchfield – Sydney Kings, 2015 Southland Sharks
Angus Brandt – Perth Wildcats
Jason Cadee – Sydney Kings
Mitch Creek – Adelaide 36ers
Cam Gliddon – Cairns Taipans
Matt Hodgson – Adelaide 36ers
Nick Kay – Illawarra Hawks, Southland Sharks
Daniel Kickert – Brisbane Bullets
Mitch McCarron – Cairns Taipans
Brad Newley – Sydney Kings
Mitch Norton – Illawarra Hawks, Southland Sharks