06 - 21
August 2016
Joe Ingles (AUS)
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A summer off fuels Ingles' desire to help Australia reach the podium

MELBOURNE (2016 Rio Olympics) - Joe Ingles snapped a seven-year run of playing for Australia last summer when he sat out of the FIBA Oceania Championship. He didn't face the New Zealand Tall Blacks in the qualifiers for the 2016 Olympics. As he sees it, it's time to start a new streak.

The 28-year-old guard will be with the Boomers this summer at the Rio de Janeiro Games. While the Utah Jazz man is fully immersed in the NBA regular season, rejoining his Australia teammates is something that he can't wait to do. Missing last year's games was no fun for the two-time Olympian.

"It wasn't ideal but between the coaches and doctors here and in Australia, we decided that it was better if I took a break to rest and recover from some injuries," he said. "It was a good opportunity to have a break knowing that (Andrew) Bogut, (Matthew) Delly (Dellavedova) and (Pat) Mills were planning on playing with the team. I was in Melbourne for the first game and I didn't enjoy being seated in the stands at all. If we had lost, it would have been different, but they won so it’s good."

Australia prevailed in the opening leg in Melbourne, 71-59, and then won the second encounter in Wellington, 89-79.

I am not planning on doing it again anytime soon. Everyone in the team, the players and coaches had the confidence that we could beat New Zealand with or without me. I am ready to go for this year. - Ingles

The last time Ingles put on the Boomers jersey was in Spain. He played for his country and helped it reach the Round of 16 at the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup.

That experience was not as good as it could have been. Australia, despite being shorthanded with some high-profile players out of the lineup, were close to a spot in the Quarter-Finals when they allowed a second-half lead to slip against Turkey.

What must Australia do to improve on their last two Olympic appearances, which has seen them exit the competition twice in the last eight at the hands of the United States? For starters, they need to win against the teams they should beat and finish as high as possible in the Preliminary Round.

Losing games early at the Beijing and London Games were costly. They contributed to the Boomers having to face the Americans in the Quarter-Finals.

We have said our goal publicly. We want a medal. We still have a lot of work to do and the competition is going to be tough, but we want to have a great campaign in Rio. - Ingles

"Having guys like Bogut back after a couple of years out of the national team is great, the group we have has been together for eight, nine years now and I think it’s one of the best rosters we have ever had,"  Ingles said.

"The one of 2000 (Sydney Olympics) with Shane Heal, Luc Longley and Andrew Gaze was good, too. We know there is a lot of work still to do and we need to keep working hard, but we are ambitious."

There is no question about the brotherhood that exists in the Australia squad. On Sunday, the day before the NBA All-Star Game, the members of the national team that play in the league took advantage of the mid-season break to go for a cruise.

Ingles has had a smooth transition to the NBA after spending several years in Europe. Utah, a team that has climbed into the top eight of the Western Conference, signed him a two-year extension last summer.

I am here to stay. I am not planning on leaving anytime soon. I have always wanted to be in the NBA. - Ingles

"After winning the Euroleague with Maccabi Tel Aviv, I was ready to move on," Ingles said. "I had great years in Barcelona and in Tel-Aviv. I had a hell of a time in Europe and to finish my European spell with that big title was perfect for me."

"I am obviously happy to have signed a two-year extension and I feel really good out here... The challenge here is exciting and the project of the Jazz is amazing. I didn't think twice when they made me the offer to stay."