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23-8-2007 - By Bill Baxter for BA Media

Boomers Beijing bound after defeating Tall Blacks 2-1

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24 August 2007

Tall Blacks take game three

The New Zealand Tall Blacks defeated the Australia Post Boomers 67-58 in the final game of the 2007 FIBA Oceania Men’s Championship at the Brisbane Entertainment centre tonight.

NBA draftee Brad Newley top scored for the Australia Post Boomers with 14 points and 6 rebounds while guard Damien Ryan added 11 points and captain Sam Mackinnon tallied 9 points and 8 rebounds.

Kiwi guard Phillip Jones scored a game high 17 points to go with 12 rebounds to lead the Tall Blacks while new Brisbane Bullet recruit Craig Bradshaw added 15 points.

The Boomers won games one and two of the three game series to qualify for Beijing.

Click here for video highlights.

Quarter by quarter:
1: AUS 12 NZ 18
2: AUS 24 (12) NZ 28 (10)
3: AUS 45 (21) NZ 41 (13)
4: AUS 58 (13) NZ 67 (26)

AUSTRALIA 58 – Newley 14, Ryan 11, Mackinnon 9 lost to
NEW ZEALAND 67 – Jones 17, Bradshaw 15, Cameron 11

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22 August 2007

The Boomers are going to Beijing

THE AUSTRALIAN men's basketball team has booked a ticket to the 2008 Beijing Olympics after a crushing 93-67 victory over New Zealand in game two of their Oceania qualifying series in Sydney, writes James Dampney for Australian Associated Press.

An outstanding third quarter was the catalyst behind the win, with the Boomers building an 18-point lead at three quarter-time before strolling to a 2-0 lead in the best-of-three clash, which concludes in Brisbane on Friday.

Veteran Sam Mackinnon (18 points) was instrumental in the victory, while lightning quick teenager Patrick Mills (17) continued to show he belongs on the senior international stage.

Tall Blacks' Kirk Penney (21 points) and burly skipper Pero Cameron (15) tried hard for the visitors, but the Australians had too much class at both ends of the floor and will join Australian women's team the Opals in next year's Olympic draw.

The Kiwis now face a knockout tournament in July next year featuring some of the best teams from Europe and the Americas in a last ditch attempt to qualify for the Games.

The visitors enjoyed plenty of crowd support, including Kiwi international rugby league players Benji Marshall, Paul Whatuira and David Kidwell.

If the pre-match haka was anything to go by, New Zealand appeared ready to bring some much-needed aggression after a lacklustre game one in Melbourne, but again it never really eventuated.

Mills, 19, has already achieved cult status if the ovation when he first checked into the game in the first quarter is anything to go by.

One section of the crowd held an enormous sign that read 'WE LOVE PATTY MILLS'.

He duly gave the crowd exactly what they were after when he drove to the basket with his first touch to give Australia a handy 16-8 break, which they maintained until quarter-time.

Mackinnon's three pointer with 6min 33sec left in the second term gave Australia a 34-23 break and the signs weren't good for New Zealand.

But the Australians then took their foot off the pedal as the Kiwis finally found some rhythm, taking their first lead with 37 seconds remaining in the half.

New Zealand wasn't able to keep their run going, however, blown away in the decisive third term.

Looking towards Beijing, Australia's bench remains a concern, although the return of injured trio Andrew Bogut, Matt Nielsen and CJ Bruton will certainly aid the cause.

Australian coach Brian Goorjian said he was more concerned coming into the series than any other time in his 20-year coaching career and was extremely relieved to ensure qualification in two games.

"I just thought there was so much at stake and we carried such a responsibility," he said.

"The game needs the Boomers to go to the Olympic Games. Our game needs this right now especially and this was the most vulnerable team in my time.

"Not all of us will be in Beijing but this group has a special place in Australian basketball."

Cameron didn't mince words after the match, describing New Zealand's performance as "s__thouse", while coach Nenad Vucinic was a dejected figure after the second straight loss.

"Obviously very disappointed with the result," Vucinic said.

"We didn't play well. We pretty much lost the series in an inappropriate way for this team."



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Previously...
August 22

Boomers open with a win

The Australia Post Boomers have taken the upper hand in the 2007 FIBA Oceania Olympic qualifying series against New Zealand after registering a 79-67 victory at Vodafone Arena in Melbourne tonight, writes Jonathan Healy for Sportal.

New Zealand stuck with Australia in the opening half, trailing by just six at half-time, but a strong defensive performance from the home team in the third quarter set the standard for the rest of the match, as the Boomers raced away to a comfortable victory.

Centre David Anderson led the Boomers with 20 points, while Sam Mackinnon (18 points, seven rebounds) and Glen Saville 16 points were influential.

Shooting guard Kirk Penney played a lone hand for the Tall Blacks with 20 points, while Mark Dickel (10 points) and Craig Bradshaw (nine points) tried hard.

Dickel drove to the basket and drew a foul on Darnell Mee to open proceedings with a three-point play, as the visitors opened up an early 11-5 lead.

Mee picked up another sloppy foul just minutes later, and Boomers coach Brian Goorjian was forced to introduce exciting youngster Patrick Mills into the fray earlier than expected.

Mills' introduction brought some needed spark to the home side as the Boomers went on a 9-0 run, which included a long-range triple from Anderson, to open up a 14-11 lead.

After trailing 16-18 at the first change, New Zealand came out firing in the second term with some inspired play from big man Pero Cameron and Penney igniting the Tall Blacks to a five-point lead (28-23) midway through the quarter as Goorjian called for time.

Similar to the first quarter, the Boomers fought back well in the second part of the period, with Saville and Mackinnon contributing eight points apiece during the term, as the home side wrested the advantage 43-37 at the main break.

Dickel once again opened the scoring to start the third quarter with a three-pointer from the top of the arc, but the Boomers continued to pound the ball into Anderson who took full advantage of his height difference against Bradshaw and Cameron.

Having extended their lead to 13 (59-46) at the final change, the Boomers produced the first five points of the final quarter and looked to be cruising to victory.

In reply, Penney hit seven straight points for the Tall Blacks, but despite his best efforts, Mackinnon and Anderson ensured the Boomers took the opening game of the series.

Game two of the best-of-three series will be held in Sydney on Wednesday night, with the final game to be played in Brisbane on Friday.

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Previously...
August 20

Count down to tip-off

Click here for LIVE stats of tonight's game between the Australia Post Boomers and New Zealand Tall Blacks.

OUTSIDE the Olympics or world championships, Sam Mackinnon will not have played more important games for the Boomers than the next three.

That's because the games against New Zealand could decide if Mackinnon makes a third Olympics and ends his long international career in Beijing.

The best-of-three qualifying series starts tonight at Vodafone Arena and, while there is a repechage tournament for three wildcard spots at the Olympics, winning the Oceania berth is the quickest way to guarantee a place in Beijing.

"That will definitely be my last thing for Australia," Mackinnon said yesterday. "I want to get there. That would be the best end to my international career.

Alternate text"This is pretty big. Obviously it is to make the Olympics, but it is big for basketball in this country, too. If we don't qualify for the Olympics it will hurt the grassroots, funding and other things."

The problem for Mackinnon and the Boomers is that several of the Tall Blacks will be thinking the same thing as the core of the New Zealand team looks to round out a decade together in the best possible fashion.

The last time the Boomers and NZ played a qualifying series of significance, the Tall Blacks won 2-1 to make it to the 2002 world championships in Indianapolis, where they rocked the tournament by finishing fourth.

Since then the once lopsided rivalry has disappeared and the Boomers, who toppled the Tall Blacks to win the 2006 Commonwealth Games gold medal, know they have to be ready to play for every minute against NZ.

"This is going to be tough," Mackinnon said.

"This is the biggest qualifying series I've ever played in."

The Boomers prepared with a week-long training camp on the Gold Coast and an eight-game tour of Europe, where they finished 4-4 and discovered the talent of emerging young point guard Patrick Mills.

An AIS graduate and back-up to starter Darnell Mee, Mills will be vital coming off the bench.

The Boomers will be without Andrew Bogut, Chris Anstey, Matt Nielsen and C.J. Bruton so responsibility will fall back onto captain Mackinnon and fellow veteran Jason Smith.

By Grantley Bernard for The Herald Sun.

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Previously...
August 15

Boomers team to take on Tall Blacks

Basketball Australia is pleased to announce the twelve athletes selected to take on the New Zealand Tall Blacks next week.

The 2007 FIBA Oceania Men’s Championship begins on Monday August 20 at the Vodafone Arena in Melbourne and continues on Wednesday August 22 at the Sydney Entertainment Centre, before finishing on Friday August 24 at the Brisbane Entertainment Centre.

The winner of the Championship earns the right to play at the 2008 Olympic Games.

“Do I think we can beat them? I certainly do,” Australia Post Boomers head coach Brian Goorjian said.

“I’ve watched tape on the Tall Blacks and I think they’re playing very, very well, so we’ll need to be ready.”

19-year old point guard Patrick Mills was tagged as a star of the future but has been rewarded for his stellar play on tour with selection to the team.

Mills led the Australian under-19 men’s team, the Emus, at the FIBA World Championship in Serbia in July and joined the Boomers’ touring side via an Indigenous Talent Identification Grant courtesy of the Australian Sports Commission.

Given an opportunity, he maximised it.

“I didn’t know if it was going to be down the track or now, but I’m thinking now,” Goorjian said.

“He’s still got a lot to learn and this is a whole different level of basketball for him, but he’s explosive, skilled and fearless.

“He’s exciting for our sport,” Goorjian said.

The Australia Post Boomers arrived back in Australia last night after a preparatory two week, eight game tour of Italy and Turkey, where they won four games and lost four.

They will enter a three day camp in Melbourne on Friday in advance of the Championship, while the Tall Blacks will arrive in Melbourne on Friday morning after a 40-hour commute from Croatia.

The Tall Blacks registered a thrilling two point victory over Croatia in Croatia overnight, 79-77.


The 2007 Australia Post Boomers team to take on New Zealand Tall Blacks:

Name/height/position/club

David ANDERSEN       212cm, Forward        CSKA Moscow
Wade HELLIWELL      213cm, Forward/C     Solsonica Rieti (Italy)
Russell HINDER         208cm, Forward        Sydney Kings
Luke KENDALL          193cm, Guard           Sydney Kings
Sam MACKINNON      197cm, Forward        Brisbane Bullets
Darnell MEE             198cm, Guard           Cairns Taipans
Patrick MILLS           181cm, Guard           AIS
Brad NEWLEY           198cm, Guard           Houston (USA), Adelaide 36ers
Damien RYAN           193cm, Guard           Perth Wildcats
Glen SAVILLE           197cm, Guard/F        Sydney Kings
Jason SMITH            194cm, Guard           Sydney Kings
Mark WORTHINGTON  202cm, Forward        Sydney Kings

Staff:

Brian GOORJIAN        Head Coach                      
Brendan JOYCE        Assistant Coach                 
Gordon McLEOD        Assistant Coach                 
Nic MERCER             Operations Manager
Dr Seamus DALTON   Doctor
Nik POPOVIC            Strength and Conditioning
Steve EVANS           Physiotherapist


EUROPEAN TOUR RECAP

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August 12

Turkey bites Boomers

The Australian men’s basketball team has been defeated by Turkey 85-63 in Istanbul overnight in the final match of the Boomers’ European tour.

Sydney King Glen Saville top scored for Australia with 10 points while Russell Hinder added 8 points and Damien Ryan 7 points in support.Alternate text

Serkan Erdogan scored 16 points to lead Turkey ahead of NBA players Hidayet Turkoglu and Mehmet Okur, who posted 12 and 9 points respectively.

The defeat leaves the Boomers with a four win, four loss record after their eight games on tour but provides some relief for the Turks, who had suffered two losses in a row to the Aussies.

The absence of Russia-based star David Andersen, who returned to Australia earlier this week to spend time with his family, and NBA player Luke Schenscher, who has not recovered from an ankle injury sustained while on tour, hurt the Australians.

“They manhandled us,” Boomers head coach Brian Goorjian said.

“They are big and strong and they used it to their advantage tonight.

“Without Dave and Luke we were vulnerable and to Turkey’s credit that’s where they went after us.

“Points were hard to come by and we had difficulty getting freed up but on a positive note we finished well.

“We’ve taken some lumps on tour and we’ve had some victories and what we need now is a little rest.

"We had two bad halves on this entire trip and unfortunately one of those was in the first half of this game.

“We face New Zealand in one week and we know what we have to do to win and the things we need to stay away from, so bring it on.”

Like they did the night before in a stirring 101-93 victory over Turkey, Australia started slowly but this time around they did not bounce back throughout the first quarter and trailed by twelve points at the break, 25-13.

The game was more even in the second quarter, but Turkey added a further five points to take a seventeen point advantage into the main break, 48-31.

The Boomers upped the defensive ante in the third period and restricted the Turks to just seventeen points, but scoring only fourteen of their own the effort was wasted as the lead ballooned to twenty points, 65-45.

Australia fought valiantly in the final stanza but the Turkish victory was never in doubt.

The Boomers arrive back in Australia at 6:55pm on Monday evening and will enjoy a few days rest before heading into a three day camp in Melbourne on Friday 17 August.

The moment of reckoning is nigh for the Boomers, with the three-game 2007 FIBA Oceania Men’s Championship against New Zealand beginning on Monday 20 August, with the winner of the series earning the right to play in Beijing.

Quarter by quarter:
1. AUS 13 TUR 25
2. AUS 31 (18) TUR 48 (23)
3. AUS 45 (14) TUR 65 (17)
4. AUS 63 (18) TUR 85 (20)

AUSTRALIA 63 – G Saville 10, R Hinder 8, D Ryan 7 lost to
TURKEY 85 – S Erdogan 16, H Turkoglu 12, M Okur 9
in Istanbul

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Images courtesy of the Turkish Basketball Federation

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11 August 2007

Boomers roast Turkey

The Australian men’s basketball team has come from behind to record a thrilling victory over Turkey 101-93 in Istanbul in the first of two international “friendlies”.
 
South Australian Brad Newley top scored for the Boomers with 21 points while young gun Patrick Mills added 17 points, 6 assists and 3 steals in support.

NBA All-Star Mehmet Okur scored 28 points to lead Turkey.

“It was inspiring,” Boomers head coach Brian Goorjian said.

“To beat Turkey on their court in front of their home crowd is a tremendous win.

“Newley scored for us when nobody else could and Mills was electrifying. Those two guys were tremendous for us tonight.”

“Turkey has three NBA players, one of them is an All-star, and their whole team is big, so this win makes us feel really good about ourselves.

“Our series with New Zealand is right on us and we can walk away from this one feeling like we’re doing what we’re supposed to be doing, and we’re doing it well.”

The Boomers are gearing up for the 2007 FIBA Oceania Men’s Championship against New Zealand on August 20, 22 and 24 in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane, with the winner earning the right to play in Beijing.

The Australians started the match in a coma and trailed 11-nothing to the delight of the 4000-strong Turkish crowd, before Goorjian pulled four players from the court and barbequed the group.

In stepped the young guns, Newley and Mills, and with solid support from Sydney King Russell Hinder the Boomers stormed back to trail by four points after one quarter, 23-27.

Brisbane Bullets’ Boomers Captain Sam Mackinnon shone in the second quarter to help bridge the lead entirely and the Australians went into the main break pumping and jumping, 51-49.

Utah Jazz’s Turkish superstar Mehmet Okur took the fight to the Aussies in the third quarter but Luke Kendall stepped up with his best basketball of the tour to keep the Boomers in the game.

With one quarter to play the scores were tied at 75-all before Pat Mills turned on the afterburners for the Boomers.

His electric speed put the Turks on the back foot and when Sydney King Glen Saville threw down a slam dunk with 1:30 remaining the Boomers were standing tall with a twelve point lead.

A long 3-pointer gave the home fans hope but when Newley responded with a three of his own the Turks were deflated and victory was assured.

Goorjian did not discount the effect a team visit to the battlefields of Gallipoli had on the Boomers.

“It was the most moving experience I’ve had in the last five years with the national program,” he said.

“Being with the team, seeing what those soldiers had to do, it was really something, and no matter what happens with this team, no one can take that experience away from us.”

Alternate text

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Quarter by quarter:
1. AUS 23 TUR 27
2. AUS 51 (28) TUR 49
3. AUS 75 (24) TUR 75 (27)
4. AUS 101 (27) TUR 93 (18)

AUSTRALIA 101 - B Newley 21, S Mackinnon 17, P Mills 17 def
TURKEY 93 - M Okur 28, I Kutluay 15, S Erdogan 13
in Istanbul

Images courtesy of the Turkish Basketball Federation

---
10 August 2007

Andrew Bogut radio interview

Australia Post Boomers star centre Andrew Bogut was interviewed on 2UE’s Sports Today program on Thursday night by Panthers legend Greg Alexander and renowned sports journalist John Gibbs.

Click here to listen to Andrew talking Boomers, Bucks and Tall Blacks.


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10 August 2007

Boomers visit Gallipoli

The Australia Post Boomers took time out from their busy European tour schedule yesterday to visit the battlefields of Gallipoli.

The Boomers are using the European tour to experience quality opposition ahead of the 2007 FIBA Oceania Men’s Championship against the New Zealand Tall Blacks in August.

The winner of the series earns the right to play in Beijing.

It is hoped that visiting the sacred site will provide the Boomers with a valuable cultural experience while on tour as well as building team spirit.

The Boomers will play Turkey early tomorrow morning and Sunday morning before games against New Zealand on August 20 at the Vodafone Arena in Melbourne, August 22 at the Sydney Entertainment Centre and August 24 at the Brisbane Entertainment Centre in Boondall.

The series is going to be a cracker!

Do you have your ticket yet?

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Images courtesy of the Turkish Basketball Federation

Player Diary
By Jason Smith


Gallipoli is one of, if not, the most important place in Australia’s wartime history. The Boomers had the opportunity to visit and take a tour around the hallowed ground that holds so many young Australian men that died fighting for our country. 

It is hard to imagine the scenes that these men, some of whom were only boys, faced. At some stages throughout the tour of the area, it was really difficult not to let my emotions take over when reflecting what our soldiers were faced with. Actually seeing how far the front lines were apart and the trenches that are only five meters apart in some places, really struck home the immense danger that confronted both sides.  Alternate text

It is hard to contemplate how a country like Turkey has developed such a good friendship with Australia after such heavy casualties on their own soil. However, this point was repeatedly told to us by our tour operators and seemingly not just used for face value. A story was told to us that during the war in 1915 at some point in a negotiated cease fire, the Turks and Aussies would engage in a sort of marksmanship contests. 

I get asked all the time how good it must be to travel all the time playing basketball and seeing some of the great cities of the world.  My standard answer is that we do not get to see a whole lot of the country or city we are in. Only the inside of the hotel and the inside of the gym we are practicing in and playing in at the time. But this opportunity came about and I am glad that we took advantage of it. 

The experience not only made us feel even more proud of wearing the green and gold and representing the greatest country on earth. It also made us contemplate our own battles we will be facing as a team.  And although the stakes are not the same we know that if we can muster some of the same Anzac spirit we can overcome any obstacles that are placed before us.


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7 August 2007

Boomers defeat Senegal

The Australian men’s basketball team has defeated Senegal 78-57 in a one off international friendly in Italy overnight.

Perth Wildcat Damien Ryan top scored for the Boomers with 16 points while Australia’s Russian-based star David Andersen added 15 points. South Australia’s Brad Newley chimed in with 12 points.

Brisbane Bullet Sam Mackinnon and Sydney King Glen Saville did not take part in the match due to stomach illnesses, while giant South Australian Luke Schenscher rolled his ankle in the warm up and did not play.

The result gives Australia a 3-3 record on tour with two games against Turkey remaining.

“Senegal is athletic and it was a good win to get without three of our players,” Boomers head coach Brian Goorjian said.

“I was disappointed that I couldn’t try a new combination with Schenscher and Andersen playing big minutes together, but we know our direction now.

“We have to take advantage of the next two games and keep on getting better.”

Goorjian was particularly happy with the continued emergence of guard Damien Ryan, who has had Alternate textinjury issues for the past three years but is now fit and well.

“Ryan has been a real surprise package,” Goorjian said.

“He played really well on our last tour of China and he’s gone to a new level on this tour.

“He’s shooting well and playing well and making good decisions.”

Australia’s trademark defence was the key in minimizing the effect of the Senegalese athleticism and after one quarter the Boomers had established a nine point lead, 22-13.

The Boomers extended to a full court zone defence in the second quarter and by half time the advantage had grown to fourteen points, 41-27.

Following a low scoring third quarter full of fouls the Australians regained their offensive rhythm in the final stanza and took victory by twenty-one points.

The Boomers travel to Milan this morning before connecting to Turkey this afternoon, where they will open their trainings to the Turkish public and also visit the battlefields of Gallipoli.

The Turkish media has embraced the Australian team prior to its arrival, highlighting the mutual friendship and respect between the two countries and praising the team’s visit to Gallipoli.

Brian Goorjian and players are available to media upon request.

Quarter by quarter:
1. AUS 22 SEN 13
2. AUS 41 (19) SEN 27 (14)
3. AUS 55 (14) SEN 42 (15)
4. AUS 78 (23) SEN 57 (15)

AUSTRALIA 78 – D Ryan 16, D Andersen 15, B Newley 12 def
SENEGAL 57
in Bormio, Italy


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5 August 2007

Serbia slides by Boomers in overtime

The Australian men’s basketball team has been defeated by Serbia 86-81 in overtime at the Diego Gianatti International Basketball Tournament in Italy overnight.
Alternate text
South Australia’s Brad Newley and Victoria’s David Andersen each scored 14 points to lead the Boomers while Perth Wildcat Damien Ryan added 13.

Zoran Erceg top scored for Serbia with 18 points while NBA player Darco Milicic added 14.

Australia finished fourth in the six nation tournament behind Italy, Croatia and Serbia and will now enjoy a rest today before taking on Senegal in a one off international friendly.

“We played better tonight and that was important after the kicking we got last night,” Boomers head coach Brian Goorjian said.

“Serbia is a very strong team and our starting group had their number.

“We controlled the game for most of the first half but when we went to the bench we sacrificed some fluidity in the system.

“Our bench players are not entirely comfortable right now but that’s why we’re here playing at this tournament. We’re coaching with New Zealand in mind.”

The Boomers are gearing up for the 2007 FIBA Oceania Men’s Championship against New Zealand, to be played on August 20, 22 and 24 in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane.

Australia’s rock solid defence troubled Serbia in the opening stages and by quarter time the Boomers had established a ten point advantage, 22-12.

With Andersen and Newley taking charge for the Boomers, the lead grew to fourteen points in the second quarter before Serbia ground down the Australian bench players to narrow the gap to just three at half time, 44-41.

Goorjian continued to test a number of different combinations in the third period and the Boomers responded by halting the Serbian surge to draw the quarter and maintain their three point lead with one quarter remaining, 61-58.

With five seconds to play in regulation the score was tied at 73-all and Australia had a good look at a shot which hit every side of the rim but rattled out to push the game to overtime.

Serbia began the extra period with a 3-pointer, followed by a defensive stop and a successful field goal, forcing Australia to play catch up from then on. The Boomers fought valiantly to post eight points in overtime, but went down in the end by five points.

Despite this being the Boomers’ third loss on the trot, head coach Brian Goorjian was pleased with the way his team bounced back from yesterday’s 32-point loss to Italy, and with the emergence of Brad Newley.

“Newley was a huge plus for us tonight. He played 30 minutes and he made good plays and crucial baskets when we needed it.

“Even though we lost, the team is moving forward.”

Quarter by quarter:
1. AUS 22 SRB 12
2. AUS 44 (22) SRB 41 (29)
3. AUS 61 (17) SRB 58 (17)
4. AUS 73 (12) SRB 73 (15)
OT: AUS 81 (8) SRB 86 (13)

AUSTRALIA 81 – D Andersen 14, B Newley 14, D Ryan 13 lost to
SERBIA 86 – Z Erceg 18, D Milicic 14, M Tepic 13
in OT
at Bormio, Italy

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4 August 2007

Italians too strong for Boomers

The Australian men’s basketball team was defeated by Italy 86-54 in the semi final of the Diego Gianatti International Basketball Tournament in Italy overnight.

19-year old Patrick Mills top scored for the Boomers with 9 points while Sydney King Glen Saville added 8 points in support on a lean offensive night for the Aussies.

Olympic Silver Medalists Massimo Bulleri and Giacomo Galanda led Italy with 17 and 13 points respectively.

Australia’s loss puts them in a playoff for third place at the tournament against either Croatia or Serbia.

“It was very disappointing after our solid build up,” Boomers head coach Brian Goorjian said.

“We came out and played tough and hung in there until the third quarter, but when Italy turned on a spurt and got up by twenty I went deep into the bench to give people an opportunity to step up for selection and I found no positives there.

“We might have to tighten up the rotation and pick the twelve players we’re going to play against New Zealand. Some decisions have to be made.

“To be fair, this Italian team has won every game they’ve played at this tournament by 25 points or more, they’re that good.”

Coming into the game with full awareness of Italy’s offensive firepower, defence was the game plan for the Aussies and in the first quarter it worked to perfection.

The Boomers trailed by a single point after one low scoring quarter, 13-12, and Australia’s physical, in your face defence continued to rattle the Italians in the second quarter.

At half time the score was 30-26 in favour of the Italians, who played some mean defence of their own, but in the third quarter the game changed quickly.

Australia couldn’t buy a bucket for five minutes after half time and when the Italians went on a rampaging run the margin blew out to 20 points and the Boomers’ courage was crushed.

Goorjian looked for answers from his bench players but found none and with the Italians playing hard-nosed defence for the remainder of the game they ran out winners by thirty-two points.

There were no injuries to report.

Quarter by quarter:
1: ITA 13 AUS 12
2: ITA 30 (17) AUS 26 (14)
3: ITA 64 (34) AUS 40 (14)
4: ITA 86 (22) AUS 54 (14)
 
ITALY 86 – M Bulleri 17, G Galanda 13, D Gallinari 12 def
AUSTRALIA 54 – P Mills 9, G Saville 8, D Ryan 5, A Gibson 5, J Smith 5
in Bormio, Italy

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2 August 2007

Late three lifts Serbia to victory over Boomers

The Australian men’s basketball team lost to Serbia 71-66 at the Diego Gianatti International Basketball Tournament in Italy overnight.

Perth Wildcat Damien Ryan hit a 3-pointer to tie the scores with 45 seconds to play but with Serbia’s next possession they responded with a 3-pointer of their own.

The Aussies then missed an eight foot jump shot and were called for an offensive foul going for the rebound that effectively ended the game.

Sydney Kings recruit Glen Saville top scored for the Boomers with 14 points while Victoria’s David Andersen supplied 12 points and 5 rebounds in support.

South Australian Brad Newley recovered from a stomach virus and recently twisted ankle to provide a spark off the bench and posted 10 points.

The defeat puts Australia in second place in Group A at the end of the preliminary round behind Serbia and ahead of Turkey, who have been eliminated from the top four teams.

Australia must now face unbeaten European powerhouse Italy in the semi finals, to be played at midnight tonight, Australian time.

“Each game we’ve played the quality of the opposition has gotten better and even though we lost there were a lot of good things that came out of tonight,” Boomers head coach Brian Goorjian said.

“We played all 14 players so we had a deep rotation and we played all four point guards and got to have a good look at them.
Alternate text
“Brad Newley is well again and he played some minutes and did a good job.

“Glen Saville hasn’t played this kind of international basketball for a while and he lifted tonight and was a level above what he has been.

“We fell behind and had to fight back and we did that, which was quite pleasing.

“The results on this tour aren’t as important as making progress and we made progress in this game.

“We’re here to get better for when we face New Zealand and we’re doing that.”

Serbia got off to a flyer but when Newley came off the bench late in the first quarter the Boomers began scoring with ease. They trailed 25-21 after one period and 39-36 at half time before defence became the priority. Alternate text

The scoring dried up almost entirely for both teams in the third quarter but the Serbs managed to extend their three point half time lead to eight points with a quarter to play, 50-42.

Australia showed great fight to grind down Serbia’s advantage in the final quarter and draw level with less than a minute to go and if a 50-50 offensive foul call against David Andersen with seconds remaining went the other way, the victory could have been Australia’s.

Brisbane Bullet and NBL MVP Sam Mackinnon led the rebound count for the Boomers with 12, while Luke Kendall returned from a thumb injury to play 11 minutes and compile 3 turnovers and no points.

Quarter by quarter:
1: AUS 21 SRB 25
2: AUS 15 (36) SRB 14 (39)
3: AUS 6 (42) SRB 11 (50)
4: AUS 24 (66) SRB 21 (71)

AUSTRALIA 66 – G Saville 14, D Andersen 12, B Newley 10 lost to
SERBIA 71 – M Gurovic 22, D Milicic 17, M Jaric 12


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Player Diary
3 August 2007
By Jason Smith

Bormio, a cozy little town, famous for its skiing and winter delights, has been a great spot for the Boomers so far. Being summer, it is a quiet, snoozy place that provides a chance for the people of Milan and closer cities to get away from the urban heat. This sort of setting is ideal to concentrate on basketball and we have barely any distractions to keep us from doing our job. 


The game last night against Turkey was tough and was going to be a battle from the beginning. Most of us that played at the World Championship in Japan last year still had the loss to Turkey firmly in our minds.
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They are a tough team with many weapons and a lot of experienced players. They also shoot the ball very well and outsize us in every position. 


Our defence has been our main catalyst; it has given us the ability to bring the game to a more level playing field and we know that we can mix it with anyone in the world now.

All the European teams will be in a desperate position in a month’s time when they play at the European Championships, called EuroBasket. The top three teams are guaranteed a spot at next year’s Beijing Olympics. So I am sure you can imagine how serious the teams that we are playing over here are treating this tournament.

For us, having to qualify against New Zealand in three weeks presents its own challenges. 

It is great for us to be here playing the best teams in the world and to gain momentum leading into the series against the Kiwis. 


I have actually been to this town and tournament before. The Boomers came here in 2000 in the lead up to the Sydney Olympic Games and I remembered the quaintness of Bormio and the enjoyable time we all had here. 

Coming back seven years later, it is like time has stayed still. Nothing has changed. The same staff works here and although Giorgio the manager doesn’t remember us, the guys who have been here before remember him and his vintage VW kombi van that he shuttles us around in. 

All the guys have been taking crash courses in Italian from any of the locals who will help.  They have mastered hello and good day and some other colorful language for when shots are missed at training. 

Every one of the guys has been working hard and we are playing quite well for only having been together for a week. Tomorrow we play Serbia and we fully understand what we will be facing during the game. 

Whatever the result, I believe that if we can continue to show the fight that we have built our team identity on, we’ll be in good shape when we face New Zealand.


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2 August 2007

Boomers defeat star-studded Turkey

The Australian men’s basketball team has defeated Turkey 69-54 at the Diego Gianatti International Basketball Tournament in Italy overnight.

Sydney Kings guard Jason Smith top scored for the Boomers with 13 points while Australia’s Russian-based forward David Andersen added 12 points and 12 rebounds in support.

It was sweet revenge for the Boomers, who lost to Turkey by eight points at the 2006 FIBA World Championship last August, and with this Turkish team boasting three NBA players it was no small Alternate textvictory.

“I feel really good about that game,” Boomers head coach Brian Goorjian said.

“David Andersen did a great job restricting their NBA All-Star Mehmet Okur to two points and that was key.

“They had three NBA players and you look around at the other teams at this tournament and Italy has also got three and Serbia has got four.

“We’re not overly talented by comparison but we’re playing hard and while the win might not have been pretty, it was a win.”

Brisbane Bullet Sam Mackinnon chimed in with nine points and was a defensive juggernaut playing as an undersized power forward but it was the play of pint sized point guard Patrick Mills that again stole Goorjian’s heart.Alternate text

“He’s exciting for our sport,” Goorjian said.

“There’s a tenacity about Mills and the guys are really enjoying playing with him.

“He’s still got a lot to learn and this is a whole different level of basketball for him, but he’s explosive, skilled and fearless.”

Australia was ready to play from the outset and after one quarter they had amassed a double digit lead, 22-12.

Turkey upped the ante in the second quarter and the Boomers struggled to score as the advantage eroded entirely by half time, 33-33.

Some choice words in the locker room from the Boomers’ leadership group had an immediate effect on the Australian side, which held the Turks to eight points in the third quarter for a 50-41 lead with one quarter to play.

There was no stopping the Boomers in the final stanza. They held the Turkish stars at bay to win the quarter 19-13 and the match by fifteen points.

Australia was without the services of Sydney Kings guard Luke Kendall, who was recovering from a cut to his non-shooting thumb sustained in a freak accident in his hotel room.

Brad Newley, already under an injury cloud with a strained ankle, was unable to take the court for a different reason. He has had a debilitating stomach virus since soon after his arrival in Italy.

“It’s been an unfortunate stretch for Brad,” Goorjian said.

“We haven’t got him yet and we’ll need him against New Zealand.”

After a rest day, Australia will face the might of Serbia in the early hours of Friday morning, Australian time.

This entire tour is in preparation for the 2007 FIBA Men’s Oceania Championship in August, where Australia will play off against New Zealand for the right to play in Beijing.

Games are set for August 20 in Melbourne, August 22 in Sydney and August 24 in Brisbane.

AUSTRALIA 69 – J Smith 13, D Andersen 12, S Mackinnon 9 def
TURKEY 54 – I Kutluay 13, E Kurtoglu 12, E Arsian 9
in Bormio, Italy

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Meanwhile,
1 August 2007

Tall Blacks slip past Slovenia

Even without three of their most experience performers, the NZ Tall Blacks kept their cool as their opponents lost theirs, battling back from nine points down in the third Alternate textquarter to edge unbeaten Slovenia 74-72 at the Boris Stankovic Continental Cup in Macau.


The Europeans were three points up with 1m 30s left, but gave the Kiwis a sniff of victory when they fouled Phill Jones under the offensive basket, then conceded a technical foul when arguing the call.

The Tall Blacks converted 3/4 FT to lock up the scores, then Lindsay Tait provided the winning free throws when he was fouled in the backcourt with 16 seconds on the clock.


New Zealand
took the court without injured captain Pero Cameron (calf), forward Dillon Boucher (ankle) and point guard Mark Dickel, who has yet to join the team, but held their third halftime lead in as many games during a tournament where they were yet to win a game.


Slovenia
produced a 10-2 run early in the third quarter to make what seemed a decisive break, but unlike their previous outings, the Tall Blacks refused to buckle.


Jones lead all scorers with 25 points (8/18 FG, 2/8 3pt, 7/7 FT), while centre Tony Rampton included a pair of three-pointers in his 10 points.


New Zealand
will face hosts China on Wednesday night.


By BBNZ Media

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31 July 2007

Mills comes of age in Boomers debut

One week ago, AIS basketball star Patrick Mills was leading the Australian Emus Under-19 basketball team to an 8-and-1 record at the FIBA World Championship in Serbia.

Overnight, the 181cm speedster stepped up to play his first game with the big boys in an international friendly against Austria in Italy - and came away as the best Boomer on the court.

It was an historic night for the Australia Post Boomers, who were playingAlternate text basketball against Austria for the first time in either nation’s history, but the making of Mills was bigger than that.

His 11 point, 1 rebound, 1 steal, 1 turnover, 2 foul, 0 assist stat line in 23 minutes on court isn’t the numerical stuff of legends, but when he came off the bench mid way through the second period he changed the game and put Australian basketball on its ear.

“This kid’s special,” said Australia Post Boomers Head Coach Brian Goorjian.

“I didn’t know if it was going to be down the track or now, but after tonight I’m thinking now.

“He was our best player tonight and that has made people happy, but it has made people nervous too.

“We have four guys on tour for the point guard spot in a 14-man squad, but we’ll only play 12 against New Zealand in August, so somebody has to go.

“There are people on this team fighting for a roster spot and I like that.”

“We haven’t had a situation like this at the point guard position since I have been with the program.”

The other point guards in the squad are newly naturalised Cairns Taipan Darnell Mee, Brisbane Bullet Adam Gibson and Sydney King Luke Kendall.

In a slice of bad luck, Kendall did not play in the match overnight after yesterday suffering a cut nerve in his finger, the result of an accident in his hotel room.

Kendall’s head struck a light globe fixed to a low ceiling and the shattered glass ended up in his hand.
With Mills shining on court the injury could not have come at a worse time for Kendall, a Commonwealth Games Gold Medallist, but he will be back in a game or two to contest for a spot with these Boomers.
Alternate text
National Basketball League MVP Sam Mackinnon top scored for the Boomers with 14 points in the 84-63 victory over Austria and was well supported by Russian-based David Andersen and Perth Wildcat Damien Ryan who each scored 11 points.

Austria began the first of three 20 minute periods in an aggressive, physical manner and it took the Boomers some time to adjust but at the end of the first period Australia were ahead, 30-25.

As the Boomers experimented with different playing combinations, the Austrians stayed in the game and actually won the second period by a point, 21-20.

But when Mills unleashed as part of a small, running Boomers line up in the final period the Australians streaked away to take the stanza 33-18 and victory by 21 points.

“We learned a lot about ourselves tonight,” Goorjian said.

“This tour is about getting better as the trip goes on so when we face New Zealand in August with Olympic qualification on the line we’re ready to go – and that’s what happened in this game.

“We got better and we finished strong.

The level of competition will go up tomorrow when we play Turkey so we need to get better still and we’re going to get better.”

Australia plays Turkey in Italy at 7:00pm tonight, which is 3:00am Wednesday AEST.

Goorjian, Mills and all the Boomers are available to media upon request.

AUSTRALIA 84 – S Mackinnon 14, D Andersen 11, D Ryan 11, P Mills 11 def
AUSTRIA 63 - S Stazic 11, B Ortner 10, D Jandl 9
in Bormio, Italy

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31 July 2007

Q & A with Joe Ingles

FORMER AIS scholarship holder Joe Ingles burst onto the National Basketball League scene with a brilliant debut season, winning the 2006/07 Rookie of the Year award. The 19-year-old, who was the first player ever signed by the South Melbourne Dragons, made his debut for the Australian team in China earlier this year. Ingles will line-up for the Boomers in their upcoming Olympic qualifying series against New Zealand, which hits Melbourne on August 20.Alternate text


How do you think the team’s going to go against New Zealand?

I think it’ll be tough; NZ have had the same team group for years now, where ours changes every year with people going overseas. I think with the 14 guys we’ve got, we’ll give it a fair crack.

 

What about you personally, are you looking to play a big role?

I hope I’ll get on the court! Obviously there are 14 guys in the team and a lot of guys in my position. But I’ve made the team so hopefully I’ll get out there.

 

This will be your first time playing in Australia, are you looking forward to some home town support?

Yeah, it’ll be great. It’s in Melbourne too, at Vodafone Arena, which is my home stadium. Hopefully there’ll be some Dragons fans there, and hopefully it’ll sell out.

 

What’s it like going from being an NBL rookie to playing for the Boomers in such a short space of time?

I never thought I’d ever be in this position right now. Getting a gig with the Dragons was a big accomplishment at the start, and then having a good season and winning Rookie of the Year was a bit unexpected, I guess. Actually going to a pretty serious tournament with guys that I never thought I’d play with is great.

 

Do you feel pressure to perform considering the great season you had?

People are going to expect more from me now, I don’t feel any pressure and I don’t think I need to feel any pressure. We’ve got enough guys in our team, and I’ll just go out and play. If I don’t play as well as I did last season, then I’ll know I haven’t done the right work in the off season.


By Erin Byrnes for S-press, Victoria's student newspaper

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25 July 2007

Boomers squad ready for Europe - and Kiwis

Following a highly successful 7-day training camp on the Gold Coast, Basketball Australia and Boomers Head Coach Brian Goorjian have selected a 14 man squad that they believe has the talent and drive to beat New Zealand.

Recently beset by the loss of star players Andrew Bogut, CJ Bruton, Matt Nielsen and Chris Anstey to injury, Goorjian is now buoyed by the enthusiasm he witnessed at the camp and the team’s unified drive to beat the Kiwis.

Australia is gearing up for the 2007 FIBA Oceania Men’s Championship against New Zealand to be played on August 20, 22 and 24 in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane, with the winner earning the right to play in Beijing.

“The guys really stepped it up at the camp,” Goorjian said.

“They are in great shape and motivated and after Newley and Schenscher arrived I thought, ‘Hey, we’ve got a pretty nice team.’”

“We had questions about the point guard position but Darnell Mee came in and picked up the system quickly and he’s a leader and respected by the group.

“We hadn’t seen David Andersen for a while but he is a class player that can score and has played around the world and is a true professional and he made all the other guys around him better.

“Mackinnon continued his MVP form and had a great camp and the young guys like Worthington, Gibson and Ingles brought great energy.

“The Kiwis are tough and the series that they’re having with Venezuela is very physical, but at this point in time I just don’t see any surprises from them.

“We know what to expect.”

Alternate text


Recent NBA draftee Brad Newley tore ligaments in his left ankle at the end of the Gold Coast training camp but will travel with the team on their two week, eight game tour of Italy and Turkey in preparation for the all-important trans-Tasman series in August.

Also under evaluation by the medical staff is Sydney King Russell Hinder, who captained the Boomers to victory at a 4 Nations Tournament in China last month but has been named as a non-touring reserve in the squad due to an ongoing calf injury, along with South Dragon Jacob Holmes.

Sydney King Ian Crosswhite, South Dragon Matt Burston and Perth Wildcat Alex Loughton were released from duty when the squad size was reduced.

Australian Emu Patrick Mills, who is currently in Europe following the conclusion of the FIBA World Championship for Under 19 men, will join the Boomers squad on an Indigenous Talent Identification Grant, courtesy of the Australian Sports Commission.

The Australia Post Boomers will depart Sydney bound for Europe on SQ222 at 3:40pm on Friday.

The Australia Post Boomers:


Name/height/club

David ANDERSEN      212cm         CSKA Moscow
Adam GIBSON          188cm         Brisbane Bullets
Wade HELLIWELL      213cm         Siena (Italy)
Joe INGLES              203cm         South Dragons
Luke KENDALL          193cm         Sydney Kings
Sam MACKINNON     197cm           Brisbane Bullets
Darnell MEE              198cm         Cairns Taipans
Patrick MILLS           181cm         AIS
Brad NEWLEY           198cm          Houston Rockets, 36ers
Damien RYAN           193cm          Perth Wildcats
Glen SAVILLE           197cm          Sydney Kings
Luke SCHENSCHER    216cm          Portland Trailblazers
Jason SMITH            194cm          Sydney Kings
Mark WORTHINGTON 202cm          Sydney Kings

Reserves:
Russell HINDER         208cm          Sydney Kings
Jacob HOLMES          198cm         South Dragons

Staff:
Brian GOORJIAN        Head Coach                      
Brendan JOYCE         Assistant Coach                 
Gordon McLEOD        Assistant Coach                 
Nic MERCER             Operations Manager
Dr Seamus DALTON   Doctor
Nik POPOVIC            Strength and Conditioning
Steve EVANS           Physiotherapist
Diana GLAZER           Massage Therapist


Alternate text

Meanwhile,
26 July 2007

Gaze says Goorjian has aces

ANDREW GAZE yesterday rated the Boomers squad to tour Europe and play New Zealand next month for a place at the Beijing Olympics as versatile and talented, Peter Kogoy writes for The Australian.

The former Boomers great said coach Brian Goorjian's selection of veteran Cairns Taipans point guard Darnell Mee was no gamble.

"Mee has been around long enough not to be fazed by the occasion. He'll get time to acquaint himself with the younger guys in Europe," Gaze said.

"I also like the size of the team, with Dave Andersen, Luke Schenscher and Wade Helliwell all genuine seven-footers."

Brad Newley, a second-round draft selection with Houston Rockets, tore ligaments in his left ankle at the end of the Gold Coast training camp, but will go to Europe.

The Boomers will warm up for the make-or-break series against New Zealand in a six-nation tournament in Italy, then play African powerhouse Senegal in a one-off Test, before matches against Turkey.

Injuries to Andrew Bogut, CJ Bruton, Matt Nielsen and Chris Anstey forced Goorjian into a major rethink in naming the 14-man squad.

The key to the Australians' hopes against Turkey and Serbia could well rest on the broad shoulders of Andersen who, at 212cm, plays for European powerhouse CSKA Moscow and Helliwell, a formerly of Brisbane Bullets who now plays for Siena in Italy.

The one bolter is Patrick Mills, a member of the national under-19s who joins the senior squad on an indigenous talent identification grant.

Meanwhile, Tall Blacks forward Dillon Boucher is expected to be fit for the Olympic qualifying series against Australia next month after he damaged a ligament in his left ankle against Venezuela last week.

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