25 August, 2023
10 September
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Qualified Team Focus - Australia: Boomers hungry for first podium finish

MIES (Switzerland) - The Draw of the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023 will be held in Manila, The Philippines, on April 29. It is now time to meet the 32 teams that try to become World Champions in a few months.

After Spain, next up is the number three team in the FIBA World Ranking Men, presented by Nike, 2020 Olympic bronze medalists and FIBA Asia Cup 2022 winners Australia.

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How did they qualify

Australia qualified for the World Cup with three different coaches as the Boomers’ Olympics playcaller Brian Goorjian handed the reigns to Rob Beveridge for the first qualifying window but reclaimed duties for the second window. Goorjian then had Mike Kelly take over for the FIBA Asia Cup 2022 as well as the third and fourth windows.

With the coaches looking to build some continuity while observing other younger talents, seven players appeared in at least five of the nine games with five players playing six games. And Australia booked their ticket to the 2023 World Cup with one window to go.

The First Round saw Australia go undefeated though they did twice struggle with China in Melbourne. The Boomers wasted a 16 point lead and then needed a 12-5 finish to win 76-69. The sixth game of the group saw Australia and China deadlocked 45-45 after three quarters before the Boomers scored 14 straight points to open the fourth quarter, giving up just three points in the final frame and running away 71-48. The first window of three games in Japan featured Tokyo 2020 bronze medalist Nick Kay picking up a triple-double of 14 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists versus Chinese Taipei.

The FIBA AsiaCup 2022 took place after the First Round of World Cup Qualifiers and Australia swept to an undefeated defense of their crown from 2017, beating Lebanon 75-73 in the Final.

Dejan Vasiljevic was dominant in the August 2022 window

The August 2022 window was highlighted Dejan Vasiljevic scoring 22 and 23 points with 10 combined three-pointers in comfortable wins over Bahrain and Iran. And the qualification was locked up on November 11, 2022 with a 97-50 blowout victory in Kazakhstan.

Best result at the World Cup

Australia have played 12 of the past 13 World Cups, missing only 2002. This will be the Boomers’ fifth straight World Cup appearance. The Oceania powerhouse reached the top eight in 1982 - playing in a Semi-Finals Round with eight teams - but did not get back to that stage until 2019 when they advanced to the Semi-Finals for the first time, making their fourth place result the best ever to date for the country.

Patty Mills powered Australia into the 2019 World Cup Quarter-Finals

Last World Cup appearances

The World Cup Round of 16 proved to be a major hurdle for the Australians, losing to United States at that stage in 2006 and to Slovenia in 2010. Heartbreak came in the 2014 Round of 16 though as Australia wasted a 12-point third quarter lead and were beaten 65-64 by Turkey on Emir Prepelic’s three-pointer with 5.0 seconds to play.

At China 2019, Australia were undefeated in the First Round and then knocked off Dominican Republic and France in the Second Round to reach the Quarter-Finals.

Patty Mills scored 24 points as Australia beat Czech Republic 82-70 to get to the Semi-Finals. Mills poured in 34 in the Semis but the Boomers couldn't overcome eventual champions Spain and Marc Gasol's 33 points in a wild 95-88 loss in double overtime. Australia then went home empty-handed as they lost in the Third Place Game 67-59 to France.

Players to Watch

Basketball Australia (BA) have shortened the Australian Boomers’ roster to 15 players ahead of the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023.

The list of players highlights continuity with 4 players having played for the Boomers through their World Cup Asian Qualifiers campaign including Nick Kay (8 games), Matthew Dellavedova (3 games), Will McDowell-White (3 games), and Jack White (3 games).

Among those players McDowell-White was also on the squad that won the FIBA Asia Cup 2022 last year in Indonesia.

Additionally, 10 players are returnees from the Tokyo Olympics squad that won Bronze: Dellavedova, Kay, Chris Goulding, Patty Mills, Josh Green, Joe Ingles, Mattise Thybulle, Dante Exum, Jock Landale, and Duop Reath.

The Boomers will also, for the first time ever, have ten current NBA players in their squad including Mills, Thybulle, Ingles, Landale, Green, Dellavedova, White, Xavier Cooks, Dyson Daniels, and Josh Giddey.

One of the most exciting up-and-coming talents of the group is Giddey, who recently completed a successful second season for the Oklahoma City Thunder in the NBA, averaging 16.6 points, 7.9 rebounds, and 6.2 assists per game. Giddey had previously made his Boomers debut during the Asia Cup Qualifiers back in 2020.

For the full editorial piece on this announcement, please click here.

Final rosters will be confirmed following the Technical Meeting, which is set to take place before the start of the competition. Roster displayed on this page have been extracted from information made public by the relevant National Federation but do not necessarily correspond to the roster that will play at the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023.