News

NBL All Australian Team Preview

With their winless performance at the London Olympics and a disastrous fifth-place finish at the 2013 FIBA Asia Championship, there have been some dark times recently for Chinese basketball. But all that ended last year after former national team player and coach Gong Luming reclaimed the coaching reins, instituted a fearless, aggressive game plan and entrusted China’s long and athletic youth to carry it out. With seven players aged 22 or under, China swept their way to last year’s Asian champs gold medal behind the play of Yi Jianlian, Zhou Qi and Guo Ailun, winning all nine games by an average of 21.6 points, including a 13-point demolition of defending champions Iran in the semi-final. China’s next mission is hosting an NBL All Australian team in a three-game series in the cities of Nanning, Guangzhou and Beijing from 6-10 May as they prepare for the Rio Olympics. It is still not certain whether all the big guns will take the floor, or whether Gong will use the series to test out those battling for positions, but you can be sure whoever lines up will play the same relentless defence their coach demands, making this a tall order for the NBL representative side. But such is the depth in the NBL there’s still plenty of talent on show, and with six members of this team also in the Australian squad ahead of Rio, the series presents an ideal opportunity to impress Boomers coach Andrej Lemanis, who will be taking charge of the NBL All Australian team. Here’s a look at the players on show and what they might be expected to bring to the series: David Barlow (Free Agent) This Boomers veteran is looking to get back on track after a number of injury-plagued seasons, including an Achilles ailment that kept him from playing a minute in 2015/16. At a mobile but strong 205cm, Barlow can play both forward spots and is deadly with the corner three-ball. This tour is his chance to show every NBL team he will be a handy addition to their roster. Todd Blanchfield (Melbourne United) While there’s no doubt Blanchfield’s individual numbers headed south following his move to Melbourne, he learned to play a new complementary role similar to what would be required with the national team. Blanchfield was third in small forward rebounding last NBL season, and that will be important against a tall Chinese team, as will his ability to hit the spot-up triple. He’ll be hoping to replicate his 45 per cent accuracy from the 2013 World University Games when he last wore the green and gold. Jason Cadee (Sydney Kings) Cadee was simply sensational as he led the Emerging Boomers to the silver medal at the 2013 World University Games. He scored 16 of his 23 points in the final quarter of a come-from-behind win over the star-studded USA, along with 19 in the semi-final triumph over Serbia. The 25-year-old has slipped off the international radar since then, but after his best NBL season – where he ranked 14th in scoring and eight in assists – Cadee will be keen to prove he can run the show and defend at a high level in this series. Tom Garlepp (Sydney Kings) A late developer, Garlepp has turned himself into one of the NBL’s best shot-makers at age 30, ranking 14th in the league in scoring at 53 per cent from the floor, 50 per cent from the arc and seemingly 100 per cent on off-balance, step-back leaners. The Chinese won’t have come across a player like him before, but the challenge for Garlepp is to defend some of China’s imposing athletes at the power forward position, where they regularly roll out legit, long-armed seven-footers. Adam Gibson (Brisbane Bullets) Gibbo has been a mainstay on the Boomers team since 2009, but following a disappointing, injury-plagued NBL season and Lisch’s naturalisation, he faces a fight to keep his place in the green and gold. Look for Gibson to be a leader at both ends of the floor, constantly directing teammates and locking down his individual match-up, but he’ll also be keen to show he can nail the open triple and create scores from on-ball screen situations. Daniel Kickert (Brisbane Bullets) A long-time successful pro in Europe, Kickert showed his shooting range on debut with Melbourne in 2014/15, then took his all-around offensive game to a new level last season on a United team full of scoring threats. Along with Oscar Forman, Kickert is arguably the best three-point shooting big man the NBL has ever seen, and Lemanis will be looking for him to draw the Chinese bigs from the basket. At the other end he must show he can defend the ball-screen and battle bigger opponents in the low post in this series. Majok Majok (Melbourne United) There isn’t a genuine centre on this roster, so Majok will be asked to bang with bigger opponents night-in, night-out, just as he did with United last season. Majok’s ability to defend and rebound – he ranked eighth in boards in his first NBL season – makes him a potential Boomer of the future, and at just 23 this series is a chance to make a good first impression as well as fine tune his game for a 2017 championship run with Melbourne. Mitch Norton (Illawarra Hawks) Thrust into the starting point guard role and captaincy of the Crocs over the past two seasons, Norton showed he has all the attributes of a dependable back-up point guard in the international game, and was rewarded with inclusion in the Boomers squad. His defence, penetration and execution of the ball-screen get big ticks, the question marks are on his ability to consistently hit from the perimeter (31 per cent last NBL season) and run the show with his usual composure against taller and longer opponents. Clint Steindl (Free Agent) Clint averaged 10.5ppg at 53 per cent from long range at the 2013 World University Games, and after finally converting that into quality NBL form last season he is currently one of the league’s most sought-after free agents. Steindl scored in double figures 20 times at the efficient clips of 46 per cent from the field and 39 per cent from deep, his shooting, length and athleticism at 201cm earning him a Boomers squad invite. Jesse Wagstaff (Perth Wildcats) With three titles and five Grand Final series in his seven-year NBL career, Wagstaff knows all about playing a role at a high level, and Lemanis will be looking to the Perth veteran as a leader of his defensive schemes. Wagstaff is probably a small forward in the international game, but will likely have to play the four-spot in this undersized team. If he can hold his own defensively – as he has consistently throughout his NBL career – his accurate three-point shooting (37 per cent last season) could give the Chinese bigs some trouble. Lucas Walker (Free Agent) One Boomer described Walker’s 2014 national team camp performance as “unbelievable”, the 203cm athlete considered unlucky not to make the World Cup team as a mobile power forward. Walker averaged 6.5 rebounds in 16 minutes per game over the final two months of last season for the 36ers and, as a free agent, will be looking to continue that form to impress both potential suitors and national team selectors.
FEATURE

Caroline to Bring Energy

21 hours ago

FREE AGENCY

Taipans Complete Roster with Experienced Point Guard

1 day ago

FEATURE

Gliddon Eyes Return to Best

1 day ago

FREE AGENCY

Perth Add NBL1 Standout as DP

2 days ago

NEWS

Report: Makur Maker Signs NBA Deal

3 days ago

NBL23

Analysis: Breakout Candidates

3 days ago

NEWS

Humphries Drawn to United "Prestige"

3 days ago

FREE AGENCY

36ers Add “Extra Edge” to Roster

3 days ago

NEWS

NBL Trading Cards Return With Topps

3 days ago

GAME REPORT

Gaels Overrun Phoenix in OT Thriller

3 days ago

LaMelo Ball Leads Hawks, Taipans Beat Bullets Again

16 September 2019

Fourth Place Frustration for Boomers in China

15 September 2019

FIBA World Cup Bronze Medal Game | Australia v France Preview

15 September 2019

Prather Shines In United's Big Win, Taipans Smash Bullets

14 September 2019

Starting Five: World Cup Heartbreak

14 September 2019

Spain Again Breaks Boomers Hearts in Double OT

13 September 2019

Watch Live | Illawarra Hawks vs Melbourne United

13 September 2019

FIBA World Cup Semi-Final | Australia v Spain Preview

13 September 2019

Starting Five: Boomers Two Wins from Gold

12 September 2019

Australia Advance to World Cup Final Four

12 September 2019

NBL Partners

Naming Rights
Major Partners
Broadcast & Media Partners
Profile Partners
Suppliers
Associates