Home » ‘Aussie ball’ mindset behind versatile Boomers squad for Paris Olympics

‘Aussie ball’ mindset behind versatile Boomers squad for Paris Olympics

Australia’s men’s basketball team for the Paris Olympics has been announced, with a 22-man squad still to be trimmed by 10 prior to the action starting in July. 

Brian Goorjian will lean into Josh Giddey’s resurgent NBA form when the Boomers activate “Aussie ball” in Paris.

But the coach has opened the door for some selection surprises after naming an initial 22-man Olympic squad.

Teenagers Johnny Furphy and Rocco Zikarsky stand out on the list confirmed by Goorjian on Thursday, the squad including 10 players from Australia’s Tokyo 2020 bronze medal-winning side as well as current NBA standouts Giddey and Dyson Daniels.

Patty Mills, Joe Ingles, Josh Green, Matisse Thybulle, Dante Exum and Jock Landale are all available, although the injured Ben Simmons is now officially out of the frame for a Boomers return after back problems ended the Brooklyn guard’s season early.

Goorjian must narrow his squad to 12 before the Games begin in July, and faces some tough calls — particularly given veteran guard Matthew Dellavedova’s strong NBL form since he was overlooked for last year’s World Cup.

Johnny Furphy’s form with the Kansas Jayhawks  in US college basketball has seen the 19-year-old land a spot in the Boomers’ squad for Paris. (Getty Images: Christian Petersen)

But the coach has hinted there’s still room for some left-field picks and the inclusion of 17-year-old centre Zikarsky and 19-year-old college guard Furphy — as well as NBL talents Jack McVeigh, Will Magnay and DJ Vasiljevic — shows Goorjian’s desire for shooters and front-court versatility.

Kansas star Furphy has moved up to number 28 on ESPN’s draft projections while Brisbane’s Next Star Zikarsky was crowned MVP of champion Australia’s under-18 Albert Schweitzer Tournament campaign this month.

The Boomers’ path to the podium is precarious, with Australia drawn to face an NBA-stacked Canada and two qualifiers that could include Spain, Slovenia, Greece or Croatia.