Australian NBA star Dante Exum hasn’t played since January due to a calf injury, but his Olympic hopes remain alive after being named in a reduced 19-man Boomers squad in preparation for the Tokyo Games.
Exum’s inclusion in the squad is a huge boost to the Australian’s maiden medal chances in Japan, given his proven ability when fit.
The Melbourne-born point guard hurt his calf in early January, restricting him to just six games in the 2020-2021 NBA season.
Exum has had a horror run of injuries in recent years, but he would add significant strike to the Boomers if selected for the Tokyo Games.
Injury-prone NBA star Dante Exum, named in a strong 19-man Boomers Olympic squad for Tokyo. Picture: Joel Carrett / AAPSource:AAP
Australian coach Brian Goorjian has cut seven players from his original 24-man squad, including NBL grand final rivals Will Magnay, Mitch McCarron and Mitch Norton.
Deng Adel, Will McDowell-White and Thon Maker also missed out on the reduced squad for the final selection camp and matches beginning in the USA late this month, ahead of the Olympics in Tokyo.
Melbourne United’s grand final-bound stars Jock Landale and Chris Goulding made the 19-man squad, while recently crowned Brisbane Bullets MVP Nathan Sobey also made the cut.
The 19-man squad includes seven players who have previously donned the green and gold at the Olympics including Aron Baynes, Ryan Broekhoff, Matthew Dellavedova, Goulding, Brock Motum, Joe Ingles and Patty Mills, as well as a host of potential Olympic debutants including rising stars Josh Giddey and Josh Green.
Members of the Boomers squad will assemble in Los Angeles at a drop-in centre to start training from June 24.
Australian officials will assess the squad before naming a final 12-man team for Tokyo in early July.
The final 12 will participate in exhibition matches against the United States, Nigeria and Argentina in Las Vegas as a last hitout before departing for Japan.
NBL Rookie of the Year Josh Giddey could play for the Boomers at the Tokyo Olympics. Picture: Matt TurnerSource:News Corp Australia
Boomers and three-time Olympic head coach Brian Goorjian knows it won’t be easy to select a final 12-man team for Tokyo, but is excited about the squad’s depth and talent.
“Having so many talented players is fantastic, but it will certainly make for a challenging selection process,” said Goorjian.
“The fact that a number of first-time aspiring Boomers are pushing for selection to the ultimate international stage is testimony to the great depth of talent in Australian basketball.
“It will be great to have the group together to push each other, the focus of our experienced Olympians has been unbelievable, and we won’t shy away from the fact that we are chasing gold in Tokyo.”
The Olympic Games for the Boomers begins in Tokyo on July 25.
The group stage of the Olympic basketball tournament will run from July 25 to August 1, and the knockout stage will run from August 3-7.
BOOMERS 19-MAN OLYMPIC SQUAD
Aron BAYNES, Ryan BROEKHOFF, Xavier COOKS, Mitchell CREEK, Matthew DELLAVEDOVA, Dante EXUM, Josh GIDDEY, Chris GOULDING, Josh GREEN, Isaac HUMPHRIES, Joe INGLES, Nicholas KAY, Jock LANDALE, Patty MILLS, Brock MOTUM, Duop REATH, Ben SIMMONS, Nathan SOBEY, Matisse THYBULLE.
Source: Read Full Article