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Lisch proud to call Australia home

Kevin Lisch wasn’t chasing Olympic glory when he finalised his Australian citizenship, he was doing it for family reasons. The 30 year old two-time NBL most valuable player met his wife Rachel during his first stint in the NBL with the Perth Wildcats and after time in Europe they returned him to Australia last year when Lisch claimed his second MVP as the leader of the Illawarra Hawks. In the offseason his Australian citizenship came through allowing the American born guard to join his wife and children as an Australian. It was a proud moment although more good news followed when Boomers coach Andrej Lemanis added him to his extended Rio Olympics squad. On Monday he was named to the Boomers’ final roster and will play in Rio. “Initially once I got my citizenship I was just ecstatic to be a citizen of this country,” Lisch said. “That was the biggest thing for me because I love it here, my family is Australian but then on top of that to have the opportunity to even try out and for this to happen - you can’t really describe it.” Lisch came to the team’s selection camp in Melbourne last week with the intention to learn, meet the Boomers’ overseas stars and test out where his game rated against the best players in the country. He said he was embraced by his new teammates and helped to fit into the team. Lisch must have done well as he was named in Lemanis’ 12-man Rio Olympics roster alongside fellow NBL guards Damian Martin and Chris Goulding. Lisch performed well in the team’s green and gold scrimmage over the weekend but the left-handed combo guard didn’t know what awaited him when he went to his selection meeting later on Saturday. “I just sat there shocked and speechless at my meeting,” Lisch said. “I decided to join this country from more of a personal place, it was from the heart because my wife, my children are Australian and this country has been so good to me. “I love it and to represent it at the Olympics is the ultimate honour.” Lisch said Lemanis was upfront and quick during their meeting. “He didn’t string it out, he kept it to the point which I appreciated as we were all nervous enough,” Lisch said. “It’s just amazing to then call your wife, tell her and it’s still a feeling you can’t describe but at the same time as you have this euphoria, you have to move on because we have some work to do now.” Martin and Lisch spent many years together at the Wildcats and will join Wildcats coach and Boomers assistant Trevor Gleeson in Rio. Martin’s long awaited Olympic selection was celebrated by many in Australian basketball on Monday. “Kevin has been fantastic all week at camp because as soon as training finished we would get together and get up some shots,” Martin said. “We have gone separate ways in our careers but we had some fantastic years together in Perth and have stayed in contact ever since. “It’s really special to go to my first Olympic Games but to do it alongside a close friend is something I’ll never forget.” Goulding was also overjoyed to win a place on the Rio roster and will give coach Andrej Lemanis a dangerous scoring threat off the bench in Rio, just as he did at the 2014 FIBA World Cup in Spain. Other Boomers like Patty Mills, David Andersen, Joe Ingles and Brock Motum have all had NBL experience during their career as has Lemanis and assistant coaches Luc Longley and Mick Downer. NBL stars Aleks Maric (Sydney Kings), Brad Newley (Sydney Kings), Daniel Kickert (Brisbane Bullets), Adam Gibson (Brisbane Bullets), Cameron Gliddon (Cairns Taipans) and Nathan Jawai (Cairns Taipans) all made it to the final selection camp but weren’t selected. Any of them could be called up if the Boomers need an injury replacement in the lead up to the games. They will soon rejoin their NBL clubs for preseason training and be on show in the league this season.
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