Aussie Boomers Drawn in Group B of the FIBA World Cup Asia Qualifier
A new era of competition has dawned for the Australian men’s national basketball team aka Boomers in last night’s FIBA World Cup draw. Entering Asia’s competition for the first time with the merger of Oceania and Asia, the Boomers were drawn in Group B alongside Japan, Taiwan and the Philippine republic.
— Basketball Australia (@BasketballAus) May 7, 2017
— FIBA 🏀 World Cup (@FIBAWC) May 7, 2017
Under FIBA’s new competition system that kicks off with a home and away feature starting in November 24 to 27, February 22 to 25 (2018), and June 29 to July 2 (2018) – where Australia will play legs against its group mates.
Top three of the initial preliminary grouping will advance into the next round and into the second round of the qualifying games that will form two opposing large brackets that kick off another set of qualifying games from September of 2018, November of 2018, and February of 2019.
The top seven finishers – composed of the top three teams in the two groups as well as the fourth team with the best record will qualify to the 2019 FIBA World Cup in China.
Australia’s chief rivals, the Kiwi Tall Blacks are drawn in Group A alongside China, Korea and Hong Kong where New Zealand is almost guaranteed to advance. Most likely, Australia will also advance and will play the Kiwis once more.
FIBA’s official draw featured Aussie legend Andrew Gaze sharing a spotlight with former Chicago Bulls star Scottie Pippen, Chinese superstar Yao Ming with current Olympic captain Yi Jianlian and former Russian NBA all-star Andrei Kirilenko.
— FIBA 🏀 World Cup (@FIBAWC) May 6, 2017
In the qualification windows spread out in the years to follow, Australia will have to muster up a competitive national team from the National Basketball League (NBL) and the Aussies who are plying their trade in Europe. Although NBA stars such as Matthew Dellavedova and Ben Simmons won’t be available in the games that run across the NBA season, they can still rejoin the national team during the offseason.
Andrej Lemanis was signed up and is tasked to lead Australia in these uncharted waters but the veteran mentor is up to the challenge in tapping local talent this early as his coaching experience in the NBL allows him to identify the best set of players that will compose a very cohesive and competitive national team.
Australia’s next big campaign before the new qualifiers kicks off is in Beirut, Lebanon where the FIBA Asia Cup will be held from August 8 to 20. Coach Lemanis has already starting planning and plans to form up camp in July.
Image courtesy of Syd-Low