A guide to the Australian Men’s Basketball Team
The Australian men’s basketball team, nicknamed the Boomers, has established itself as one of international basketball’s strongest programmes. The current crop of talent made its first appearance in the semi-finals of the FIBA Basketball World Cup in 2019 and the Aussies finally captured their first Olympic medal in 2000 after years of heartache that included four fourth-place finishes.
Keen to discover more about the Australian men’s basketball team? Well, you can learn all about what makes the side so great right here at Courtside 1891. We’ve created this in-depth guide that includes details about the team’s historic performances, its legendary players and which emerging talent looks likely to carry the torch for Boomers basketball going forward.
2024 Olympics - Men's Basketball
The Australian men's basketball team are confirmed as one of the twelve nations that will compete at the 2024 Summer Olympic Games. Australia automatically qualified for Paris 2024 following a top-ten finish at the 2023 FIBA Basketball World Cup.
The Olympic basketball events will take place between 27th July and 10th of August 2024. The nations currently confirmed to participate are France (host), South Sudan, Serbia, Canada, Japan, Germany, the United States and Australia.
The four remaining places will be confirmed through the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournaments 2024, which you can stream live with Courtside 1891. The tournaments are currently scheduled for July 2-7 2024.
From Europe, the competing Olympic qualifying tournament nations are Latvia, Lithuania, Slovenia, Italy, Spain, Montenegro, Greece, Georgia, Finland, Poland and Croatia.
Puerto Rico, Brazil, the Dominican Republic and Mexico advanced from the Americas region, following positive results at the 2023 FIBA Basketball World Cup. They will be joined by the Bahamas, who shocked Argentina in the FIBA Olympic Pre-Qualifying Tournament in La Banda, Argentina.
Egypt, Angola, Côte d'Ivoire and Cameroon are the competing African nations.
From Asia and Oceania, the teams that advanced were Lebanon, the Philippines, New Zealand and Bahrain.
How Did Australia Do At The FIBA World Cup 2023?
Here are the top stats from Australia's FIBA Basketball World Cup campaign:
- → Final Standing: 10th
- → Results: Played 5 Won 3 Lost 2
- → Top Points Scorer: Josh Giddey 97 PTS (19.4 PPG)
- → Top Assist Provider: Josh Giddey 30 AST (6 APG)
- → Most Efficient Player: Patty Mills 19.8 EPG
Australia produced some solid performances but ultimately the '23 Boomers were not able to match their Semi-Final appearances at the previous 2019 World Cup and 2020 Olympics. An encouraging 98-72 opening game win over Finland was followed up with a controversial 82-85 defeat to eventful Champions, Germany. A gutsy win over co-host Japan came before a Luka Dončić-inspired defeat to Slovenia in the second round ended their chances of entering the knockout rounds, before their final game victory over Georgia.
With an impressive stat line of 19.4 PTS 6 AST 5 REB, Josh Giddey was the recipient of the first ever 'Rising Star' award, given to a candidate 21 years old or younger (born 2002 or after) and having played a minimum of 4 games in the competition.
Watch free highlights of Australia's victory over Japan, below.
Team Presentation Video
Increase your Aussie hoops knowledge by watching our handy Team Discovery Video. This bite-size package will prime you with some of the best facts about the Boomers, produced before the start of FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023.
- → FIBA Pre-World Cup Men’s World Ranking - 3rd
- → Reached the semi-final of the FIBA Basketball World Cup in 2019
- → Won Olympic bronze in 2020
- → 19 FIBA Oceania Championships in 21 tournament appearances
- → 100% win record in 2 FIBA Asia Cup tournament appearances (2 titles)
- → Qualified for the FIBA Basketball World Cup 13 times
World Cup Qualification
Australia breezed through the qualification process for the 2023 edition of the FIBA Basketball World Cup, winning all 11 games they participated in and forfeiting one.
In the first round of qualifying, the Australian basketball team were drawn alongside China, Japan and Chinese Taipei in Group B. During their fixtures, the Aussies dealt out some harsh basketball lessons… they won their six games by a combined margin of 148 points!
In the second qualification round, Australia were drawn in Group F alongside China, Japan, Iran, Kazakhstan and Bahrain. Again, the Australian basketball team displayed their dominance over the competition, winning a further five games at a canter. They ultimately ended the qualification phase with 22 points and a points difference of +336.
Despite only participating in 11 out of 12 qualification games, Australia still topped Group F based on their head-to-head record against China, with Australia winning handsomely on both occasions (76-69 and 71-48). China finished on an equal 22 point record (10 wins 2 loses) because FIBA World Cup qualification rules award 1 point for completing a game and 1 additional point to the victorious team in that matchup.
Best World Cup Qualifying Plays
This generation of Boomers embodies and embraces the ‘Aussie Hoops’ sporting DNA; high-intensity basketball on both ends, get out in transition for easy buckets, penetrate the paint and find the open man. Hustle plays are what has got this Australia team into medal contention in recent major tournaments and you can expect that to continue during the FIBA Basketball World Cup as they look to outwork opponents at every opportunity.
Interested in seeing the team’s top buckets, dishes and dimes? Check out this video of the Top 10 plays from the FIBA Basketball World Cup Qualifiers 2023. Amongst the stunning ball movement and above-the-rim finishes, keep an eye out for the amazing logo range three-pointer from William McDowell-White against Japan; he shot the rock from down under!
Current Star Players
Basketball Australia became the first World Cup nation to announce its extended roster for the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023 on May 8, 2023.
The Boomers squad contained a wealth of talent, including a national record number of NBA players and Olympic medalists
The lynchpin of the team is San Antonio Spurs champion (and now Atlanta Hawks player), Patty Mills. Known for his strong leadership qualities and deadly three-point shooting, this legend of Australian basketball brings a wealth of experience to the national squad and acts as a floor general on every possession.
Mills made his FIBA Basketball World Cup debut with the Boomers in 2010 and has enjoyed a storied international career since. His greatest achievement on the national stage came in 2020, when he helped the side claim Olympic bronze. At the tournament, he performed a special role: he became the first Indigenous Australian to be a flag bearer.
On the roster is a clutch of other players with NBA experience. The brightest star is Josh Giddey, who was drafted sixth overall by the Oklahoma City Thunder in 2021. This exciting talent became a TikTok sensation and is the archetypal modern-day guard. Although still raw in terms of tournament and playoff-level basketball, Giddey has already earned must-watch status with his ability to fill up the boxscore. In fact, he’s currently the youngest player in NBA history to record a triple-double, having done so at 19 years, 84 days old.
Australia were not able to call upon several elite-level talents that shone during the Boomers’ unbeaten 2022 FIBA Asia Cup run. Tournament MVP, Thon Maker, provided the Aussies with athleticism and length that few teams can match at the power forward position while also handling minutes at the 5 to be a stretch big. Another missing name was Keanu Pinder, who picked up a training camp injury. Pinder had a stellar Asia Cup tournament too and this Perth Wildcats player - of the Australian National Basketball League (NBL) - was invited to be on the Phoenix Suns’ 2023 NBA Summer League roster. Joining him on the injury list from the NBL was gritty veteran, plus former LeBron James teammate and NBA Champion, Matthew Dellavedova. Always a reliable role player during his time in the NBA, ‘Delly’ transforms into a different beast altogether when he puts on the green and gold uniform.
One player that will be disappointed to miss out on selection altogether is Tyrese Proctor. At 19 years of age, the tournament has come a little too soon for the Duke Blue Devil point guard. He certainly made his mark on the Asia Cup, averaging 10.5 points as a teenager. With Mills, Dellavedova and Joe Ingles almost certain to have hung up their pumps by the time we get to the 2027 FIBA Basketball World Cup in Qatar, don’t be surprised to see Proctor and Giddey being talked up as one of the best international backcourts around.
Legends of the Team
Ask many hoop fans who the most well-known retired Aussie baller is and they will probably say Andrew Bogut off the bat, as he helped Stephen Curry and the Golden State Warriors secure the first NBA Championship of their dynasty run. But, in Australia and within the FIBA family, that honor most definitely belongs to his namesake, Andrew Gaze.
Nobody has done more for Australian basketball - or set as many records - than legendary shooting guard Andrew ‘Drew’ Gaze. During his distinguished international career, Gaze established himself as one of the finest players to ever don the Australian basketball team’s green and gold jerseys. After making his FIBA Basketball World Cup debut in 1986, he set the tournament ablaze with his near-automatic scoring.
Across the four FIBA Basketball World Cups Gaze participated in, he notched up 594 points. To date, he remains the highest-scoring Aussie in FIBA World Cup history. He was also named as one of ‘FIBA’s 50 Greatest Players’ in 1991 and was rightly inducted into the FIBA Hall of Fame in 2013. A true trailblazer for basketball in Australia.
Watch his career highlights with the video below:
Domestically, Gaze’s prolific scoring made him one of the finest players to ever play in the NBL. His list of achievements in the competition is simply stunning. He was named as the tournament’s MVP seven times, won 14 scoring titles and claimed two championships. He also featured in 11 NBL All-Star Games, winning that game’s MVP trophy twice.
Gaze also played internationally. Although he went undrafted in the 1987 NBA Draft, he signed with the Washington Bullets in 1994. He then returned to the NBA once more, signing with the San Antonio Spurs for the 1998-99 season.
Sadly though, this Spurs side was stacked and Gaze received very little court time. He ultimately played in 19 regular season games and was inactive for the entirety of the team’s playoff run. There was a silver lining for Gaze though: the Spurs won the championship that season. Due to this, he has an NBA ring, something that few international players have in their possession!
Historical World Cup Performance
Australia did not participate in the FIBA Basketball World Cup until 1970. Since then, the Boomers have qualified for every edition of the competition except for the 2002 FIBA Basketball World Cup in America.
Throughout history, the side has enjoyed a checkered relationship with this flagship tournament and the team is yet to claim its first medal. That said, hopes are high for 2023.
This is because, in 2019, Australia earned its best-ever finish at the tournament, ultimately placing fourth after losing in the semi-finals to eventual champions Spain in double overtime. They then lost to a stacked France outfit in the third-place playoff.
Previous Successes and Tournament Wins
A side very much on the up, many of Australia’s most notable successes have come in recent years.
To date, their biggest success was experienced in 2020, when the team earned a bronze medal at the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, Japan. After being overpowered by a Kevin Durant-led USA side in the semi-finals, Australia overcame Slovenia in the bronze medal match. They ultimately triumphed 107-93 thanks to 42 points from Patty Mills. Prior to this, Australia had only experienced heartbreak at the Olympics - they’d previously lost the bronze medal match four times!
Elsewhere, the Australian basketball team dominated the FIBA Oceania Championship between 1971 and 2015, claiming 19 titles in 21 appearances. Today, the side competes in the FIBA Asia Cup. They’ve appeared in two tournaments since 2017 and have captured the gold medal on both occasions without losing a game.
Looking ahead to 2024 and the Summer Olympics, the core of this successful side remains in place and should be bolstered by additional NBA talent such as Josh Giddey, Dyson Daniels, a top 10 pick in the 2022 NBA Draft, and Tyrese Proctor, who is expected to be a high lottery pick in the next NBA Draft.
How to Watch Australia Men's Basketball
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