The $42 million man, Golden State Warriors defender Andrew Bogut, has been named in the 12-man Australian Boomers team.
Taking to the court alongside his NBA Finals rival, Matthew Dellavedova, Bogut makes the team look like the strongest men’s line-up the country has seen, just 12 months out from the 2016 Olympics.
Four of the seven Australians playing in the NBA are in the side, with Dante Exum and Cameron Bairstow also selected alongside David Andersen, Ryan Broekhoff, Adam Gibson, Chris Goulding, Nate Jawai, Damian Martin, Brock Motum and Brad Newley.
Dellavedova, the breakout star for the Cleveland Cavaliers, was the talk of the NBA finals, for his hustle on the loose ball and his ability to shut down Stephen Curry before the Warriors eventually triumphed.
Bogut, now an NBA Championship winner, is back in the Boomers side for the first time since 2008, and will play in Australia for the first time since 2006 when the team takes on the New Zealand Tall Blacks on August 15 in the FIBA Oceania Championship at Melbourne’s Rod Laver Arena.
The match is expected to be sold out and will also be broadcast on Channel 9.
The first challenge for the team is a European tour starting next week with warm up matches against Slovenia and Lithuania before the side returns home.
The second game in the two-match Oceania Championship is in Wellington and the series winner earns automatic qualification for the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.
NBA players Patty Mills, Aron Baynes and Joe Ingles are missing from the team, with Mills unavailable for Europe and nagged by health concerns following shoulder surgery last year.
Baynes, having just yesterday formally agreed to terms with the Detroit Pistons, has been forced to sit out of the Boomers’ games due to recent surgery on his ankle.
Ingles is resting after an arduous first season in the NBA with the Utah Jazz.
Boomers coach Andrej Lemanis said it was difficult leaving Mills out of the side.
“Patty has a proud and passionate commitment to the Australian Boomers and I’m looking forward to working with him, Joe and Aron in our determined push for a long-awaited medal at the Rio Olympic Games in 2016,” he said.
Lemanis has no doubt about his side’s defensive abilities with the likes of Bogut in the line up.
“The team’s going to be a disruptive defensive outfit and hopefully cause some issues with the way we play,” he said.
“Offensively, we’re a team that’s prepared to share the ball, put some heat on the rim and play for the good of our teammates.”
Just 2000 tickets are left for the August 15 clash, a double header featuring the Australian Opals against the New Zealand Tall Ferns as the opener.
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