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''No question, I definitely want to play at the World Cup'' - Australia's Thon Maker
CANBERRA (FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 Asian Qualifiers) - Green and gold - that's what Thon Maker has on his mind as he expresses his commitment to Australia's World Cup hopes.
The 21-year-old NBA player, after all, had an impressive debut at the Asian Qualifiers last year, averaging 10.5 points, 8.0 rebounds, 1.0 block and 1.0 triple per game, and he enjoyed playing and bonding with his fellow Boomers for the first time.
BOOMERS | @ThonMaker14 reflects on his national debut last year and his desire to represent 🇦🇺 again at the @FIBAWC in August/September (via @FoxBasketball): https://t.co/P36QLhSIOg #GoBoomers pic.twitter.com/tnkEUt3X4X— Basketball Australia (@BasketballAus) January 7, 2019
In Maker's mind, there is no doubt that he desires to return to the national team for the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 in August.
"Oh yeah, definitely. No question," he said. "I definitely wanna be a part of that."
Though Maker saw action in just two games during the Asian Qualifiers, he remains one of Australia's elite talents, especially given his playing time and production for the Milwaukee Bucks in the NBA.
Maker also doesn't see any difficulties returning to form for the Boomers mainly because Australia head coach Andrej Lemanis's system is not too different from Milwaukee's system with head coach Mike Budenholzer.
"The way we play, it’s actually similar to coach Bud’s offense," Maker said. "It’s a lot of passing, cutting, ball movement. We average at least 22, 24 assists a game in coach Lemanis’s system."
The ball movement and balance that Maker describes has been a hallmark of Australia's style in the Asian Qualifiers as proven by their the overall leader in assists per game with 24.2 per fixture. For Maker, this is an indicator of the team's high quality of play and how the Green & Gold are built on solid team play.
"When I got back, there wasn’t a lot of ‘hey, five, come screen for the one’, then see what happens out of it," he said. "It was more of, ‘let me move the ball, let me cut, let me screen for this guy, even though he doesn’t have the ball and I don’t have the ball, let me screen, cut, pop.' The defense was scrambling everywhere, and we were just having fun with it. I really enjoyed myself this summer."
Aside from having fun, Maker also feels like the Boomers are his new family, and that he wants to help carry this new family to even greater heights in the World Cup this year.
"Basketball builds families," Maker shared. "It’s literally more than a game because you build friendships, and they last forever. I have a friend who told me that, in basketball, you never say goodbye, you always say see ya later, because it’ll come back around."
Maker hopes it will all come back around this year in a good way, and that he will have a chance to wear Australia's kit again on the biggest stage of international basketball.