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August 2016
Dante Exum (AUS)
07/03/2016
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Australia announce list of Olympic hopefuls

CANBERRA (2016 Rio Olympics) - Australia have announced a 26-man list of players that will be considered for the men's Olympic squad. Head coach Andrej Lemanis will trim the roster to just 16 players for the Boomers' selection camp, which is to run from 5-10 July.

The 12 players that featured in last year's FIBA Oceania Championship triumph over New Zealand are included, as are NBA guard Dante Exum and rising star Ben Simmons. Exum got hurt in last year's preparations for the Oceania series against the Tall Blacks and has missed this season with the Utah Jazz but has a chance to make the squad that will play in Rio de Janeiro.

Simmons has been sensational at Louisiana State University as a freshman. He is expected to declare for June's NBA Draft.

Joe Ingles and Aron Baynes are also back after missing the games against New Zealand last summer. The two players are veterans in the squad and were leaders in the side that made the Round of 16 at the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup.

"It is a benefit to have a group that has spent time together both on and off the court," said Australian Boomers head coach Andrej Lemanis. "That group went through a campaign together and a majority of that group also went to the World Championships (World Cup) which will certainly help in our preparation."

What we've done is ensured we have depth in all positions which will help us if injuries ever occur. We have a fantastic core group of players that has been with us for a significant amount of time now and we have some exciting young talent that we have added to the squad. - Lemanis

Illawarra Hawks guard Kevin Lisch has been included. The USA-born guard's selection will depend on him receiving Australian citizenship, though. Lisch is an explosive player that averaged more than 19 points per game this season.

The Boomers will be trying to take advantage of every minute they have together in the build-up to Rio, with the men's tournament being played 6-21 August.

"The time frame dictates that we can only have one camp but it is the way it has been for years so it's not unusual," Lemanis said.

The coach says there various factors to consider when it comes to choosing a squad for a major event. Continuity in the squad is important, but so are other issues.

"It's a case of the selection staff taking into account previous history with the Boomers, current form, injuries, team balance and chemistry and putting all that together," Lemanis said.

One of the reasons I like getting to 16 is because it's not only about determining the final 12 but it’s the start of us working out our offensive and defensive structures. We need practices to be productive so that we can build as a team. - Lemanis

The players are excited about linking up, although most have a lot of important games ahead of them with their teams. One of them is Cleveland Cavaliers point guard Matthew Dellavedova, who played at the last Olympics in London. He and the other Australians are ambitious.

"We've got a really strong squad with a lot of experience from playing in the best leagues around the world," Dellavedova said in an interview with the Herald Sun. "We feel like the time is right to do something special."

Australia preliminary squad for 2016 Olympic Games: David Andersen, Cameron Bairstow, Aron Baynes, Todd Blanchfield, Andrew Bogut, Angus Brandt, Ryan Broekhoff, Mitchell Creek, Matthew Dellavedova, Dante Exum, Adam Gibson, Cameron Gliddon, Chris Goulding, Joe Ingles, Nathan Jawai, Daniel Kickert, Kevin Lisch, Aleks Maric, Damian Martin, Pat Mills, Brock Motum, Brad Newley, Mitchell Norton, Ben Simmons, Clint Steindl and Lucas Walker.

FIBA