Follow the World Cup on Facebook
''We want to wrap up the best record'' - Australia's Nathan Jawai
CANBERRA (FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 Asian Qualifiers) - Australia may have already qualified to the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019, but they will still not hold back in the final window according to big man Nathan Jawai.
"We are going to be tough to beat in the next FIBA World Cup," - Nathan Jawai
"We want to wrap up with the best record, and the young guys have to keep gaining more experience," he said. "I think those are the two most important things to be focused on for the next window."
Australia have rattled off 5 straight wins since losing to Japan last June, securing a spot in the World Cup this year in China. The Boomers are toting a 9-win, 1-loss card heading into the final window, where they are set to have two road games against Kazakhstan and Iran.
For the 6ft 10in (2.08m) Jawai, who has played in 2 Asian Qualifiers games so far, it's important for Australia to continue treating each game and each opponent with utmost urgency despite their World Cup qualification.
"Being qualified already doesn’t mean that we have to play the next two games just like practices," he explained. "We have to play them in a very serious way and win those games to get the first spot and maybe the best record of the Asia qualifying zone."
Jawai knows that earning the best Asian Qualifiers record will have an impact on their grouping for the World Cup and, consequently, whom they will face.
The 32-year-old is aware of just how high the level of competition is at the World Cup, having played in Spain 5 years ago. He saw action for the Boomers in all but one of their matches, averaging 4.4 points and 3.0 rebounds per contest. Jawai looks back at his previous World Cup campaign with fondness, and he is excited to see what this year's edition will bring.
"Playing at the World Cup in 2014 was one of the most interesting experiences I had in my career so far," he said. "It was great to compete against the best teams and guys in the world while you represent your country. I am sure the FIBA World Cup China 2019 is going to be a great tournament, too. China is a country that has a lot of basketball fans, the crowds are going to fill the arenas and the competition is going to feature the best teams of the world."
Jawai also knows that Australia have a potentially golden generation at their disposal, especially with so many bona fide NBA talents ready and willing to don the Green & Gold in China for the World Cup.
"For sure we can build such a competitive and talented team in the World Cup," he said. "We have a lot of veterans that can have plenty of impact, such as Andrew Bogut, Patty Mills, Matthew Dellavedova, and plenty of young guys that can have a great contribution on the team, such as Thon Maker and Ben Simmons. The pool of players that can make it to the final roster is so deep, and so talented at every position."
Because of this, Jawai knows that Basketball Australia will set the bar very high for the national team, with a world title definitely amongst their targets. He knows that winning it all is not impossible, and he believes Australia are eager to prove they are truly a global power in basketball.
"We are going to be tough to beat in the next FIBA World Cup," he shared. "We all want to keep showing the world that we can be among the best national teams of the world for a very long time. Everyone is working hard to see Australia succeed and be competitive, and at every level, from the coaches to the players and the fans, we all work as one to put Australia in the best spot in world’s basketball map."