NBA veterans Patty Mills and Joe Ingles spearhead Australia’s Olympic basketball squad announced Saturday, with coach Brian Goorjian saying anything less than a gold medal will be disappointing.
Ranked three in the world, the Boomers boast plenty of experience with San Antonio Spurs’ Mills and Utah Jazz forward Ingles at a fourth Olympics and Cleveland Cavaliers’ Matthew Dellavedova and the Toronto Raptors’ Aron Baynes heading to their third.
But they will travel to Tokyo without two-time NBA All-Star Ben Simmons, with the Philadelphia 76er pulling out last week to focus on his game after a poor NBA playoffs.
Also missing is former Dallas Mavericks swingman Ryan Broekhoff, who withdrew citing mental health issues.
Despite their absence, American veteran Goorjian, who coached Australia’s Olympic team in 2004 and 2008, said they had enough firepower to win an elusive gold medal.
“I’m really excited, we’ve got some nice youth coming into the team, and a good balance,” he said. “It’s very clear what the goal is. It’s not driven from me, I’ve walked into it and it’s hit me in the face.
“That leadership group want a gold medal and if they don’t get it they’ll be disappointed. My job is to come in here and do everything I can to help them complete the vision.”
Baynes stressed that the team was determined to challenge basketball powers United States, Serbia and Spain for the podium after finishing fourth in Rio.
“Unfinished business is in the forefront of all our minds,” he said. “We’re all excited to get out there and chase that gold medal.
“There’s so much young talent coming through in Australian basketball that we’re excited to incorporate into the Boomers system and hopefully lets us take that next step.”
Australia Olympic squad: Aron Baynes (Toronto Raptors), Matthew Dellavedova (Cleveland Cavaliers), Dante Exum (Houston Rockets), Chris Goulding (Melbourne United), Josh Green (Dallas Mavericks), Joe Ingles (Utah Jazz), Nicholas Kay (Perth Wildcats), Jock Landale (Melbourne United), Patty Mills (San Antonio Spurs), Duop Reath (Crvena Zvezda), Nathan Sobey (Brisbane Bullets), Matisse Thybulle (Philadelphia 76ers)
© 2021 AFP