Josh Giddey: ''I will definitely be there''
MIES (Switzerland) - Australia have been so good at FIBA Basketball World Cups, Olympics and FIBA Asia Cups the past several years, there've been no glaring needs to be met.
Yet a national team always needs an infusion of young talent and with young NBA star Josh Giddey waiting in the wings, Australia are about to get it.
When asked during an interview conducted by the NBA at the All-Star Weekend if he'd be joining the national team this summer, Giddey responded: "I definitely will. Definitely, I'll be there."
That means the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023 is going to have a new international star.
Australia fans have been licking their lips in anticipation of Giddey's arrival since he played for the country at the FIBA U17 Oceania Championships in 2019, and also in a FIBA Asia Cup 2021 Qualifier against Hong Kong.
His presence, probably more than any other player for Australia, will make the Boomers a must-see squad when it plays at the 32-team World Cup, starting August 25. The World Cup will be played in the Philippines, Japan and Indonesia.
Just 20 years old, Giddey is a mesmerizing talent.
In his second full season in the NBA, the numbers speak of his value.
The 2.03m (6ft 8in) shooting guard is averaging 16.5 points, 7.9 rebounds and 6.2 assists for the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Giddey will bring a full set of skills, a competitive zeal and fearlessness to the Boomers that will strengthen their bid to reach the podium again, after doing it for the first time at a World Cup or Olympics when they claimed a bronze medal at the Tokyo Games in 2021.
Every game, he does something that makes everyone sit up and take notice. Earlier this month against the Golden State Warriors, Giddey had a career-high 17 assists.
His passing is elite. The way he hurls the ball up the court at times, it's as if he's auditioning for NFL teams to become the next Tom Brady. Giddey, who played Australian Rules Football until he was 16, now calls himself a big fan of the NFL.
Giddey can score, but it really is his dimes that set the basketball world alight.
It was a behind-the-back pass from Giddey that recently went viral and drew oohs and ahhs from fans all over.
Giddey never looks angry. He plays with such joy that he always seems to have an extra bounce in his step. He does things with panache and guile and shows plenty of savvy.
It's why so many back home are watching his games and cheering him on.
"It's great to have such a passionate country so far away," he said. "You can feel the love from the other side of the world. It means the world to me to have such a passionate fan base, especially in my home country.
From veterans Patty Mills, Joe Ingles and Matthew Dellavedova to Matisse Thybulle, Jock Landale and Josh Green - it matters when Australia have players with NBA experience in their team.
I'M VERY GRATEFUL TO HAVE THEM (BASKETBALL FANS IN AUSTRALIA) BEHIND ME.
Australia, who are No. 3 in the FIBA World Ranking Men, presented by Nike, will be hoping his talent and confidence fortifies their roster and gives them a chance to do something special at the World Cup.