Home Australia The ‘Australian ball’ mentality behind the Boomers’ versatile Paris Olympics team

The ‘Australian ball’ mentality behind the Boomers’ versatile Paris Olympics team

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A US college basketball player raises his fist in celebration during a game in the NCAA men's basketball tournament.

Australia’s men’s basketball team for the Paris Olympics has been announced, with the 22-man squad still to be whittled down by 10 before action begins in July.

Brian Goorjian will lean on Josh Giddey’s resurgence of NBA form when the Boomers activate the “Australian ball” in Paris.

But the coach has opened the door to some selection surprises after naming an initial 22-man Olympic squad.

Teenagers Johnny Furphy and Rocco Zikarsky stand out on the list confirmed by Goorjian on Thursday, and the squad includes 10 players from Australia’s bronze medal-winning team at Tokyo 2020, as well as current NBA standouts Giddey and Dyson Daniels .

Patty Mills, Joe Ingles, Josh Green, Matisse Thybulle, Dante Exum and Jock Landale are available, although the injured Ben Simmons is now officially out of the frame for the Boomers’ return after back problems ended the guard’s season early. Brooklyn.

Goorjian must reduce his squad to 12 before the Games begin in July, and faces some tough decisions, particularly given veteran point guard Matthew Dellavedova’s strong NBL form since being overlooked for last year’s World Cup.

Johnny Furphy’s form with the Kansas Jayhawks in American college basketball has seen the 19-year-old earn a place in the Boomers’ squad for Paris. (Getty Images: Christian Petersen)

But the coach has hinted there is still room for some left field picks and the inclusion of 17-year-old center Zikarsky and 19-year-old college guard Furphy, as well as NBL talents Jack McVeigh, Will Magnay and DJ Vasiljevic proves it. Goorjian’s desire for shooters and versatility in the frontcourt.

Kansas star Furphy has risen to 28th in ESPN’s draft projections, while Brisbane’s next star Zikarsky was crowned MVP of Australian under-18 champion Albert Schweitzer Tournament’s campaign this month.

The Boomers’ path to the podium is precarious, as Australia will face a Canada with many NBA players and two qualifiers that could include Spain, Slovenia, Greece or Croatia.

Reflecting on a disappointing World Cup in 2023, Goorjian said the team would attack more directly and not fall into a European style of attack.

He also aspires to form the best defensive team in the world.

That will play into Oklahoma City guard Giddey’s favor, the 21-year-old’s fast-break offense clicking during a purple streak in March that included straight games of 25, 31 and 23 points followed by a triple-double.

“The consensus is that the tournament will be at a level never seen before with the talent and international star power of the NBA on all teams,” Goorjian said.

“I will emphasize and instill in the group that we do not aim to match or replicate the playing style of other nations. Our goal is to beat them.

“We’re going to play Australian ball. And we’re going to attack them with everything we have.”


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