Bolden’s chance to make Boomers mark
In a team stacked with NBA experience, Boomers great Andrew Gaze can see one of the freshest faces making the biggest World Cup statement.
NBA title winners Andrew Bogut, Patty Mills, Aron Baynes and Matthew Dellavedova, along with Utah Jazz starter Joe Ingles, will provide a core capable of earning a maiden international medal in China next month.
Ben Simmons (left) and Jonah Bolden in action at Boomers training this week.Credit:AAP
"It's an outstanding squad [coach] Andrej [Lemanis] has picked. He obviously has a style he wants to play and I think Jonah really fits that."
Gaze admitted he was surprised to see 2016 Olympian Brock Motum left out of the final 12 but said in Bogut, Baynes, Jock Landale, Nicholas Kay and Xavier Cooks they have all bases covered.
"I can see Jock playing in the same unit as Andrew Bogut because he has improved his mobility so much, he can transition and be that big body at both ends of the floor," he said.
"With so much quality, Andrej was always going to have to make some really tough decisions."
Landale, who played in Serbia last season for Partizan, turned heads with his NBA Summer League form to demand selection in the final 12.
"I had a pretty tough year out in Serbia and wasn't sure where I stood in this whole deal because I know that we have a lot of very talented big men," he said.
"It could have gone one of 100 ways. When these guys broke the news to me it was pretty special."
Lemanis said the side's clear "mission" was to return with a gold medal and Gaze agreed the tournament presented as one of their best chances to break the hoodoo.
"They have to play to their ability [to win], but their ability is through the roof," Gaze said.
"It's a tough draw they're in [with Canada, Lithuania and Senegal] though; I'd say they're the favourites [to top it], but not by much."
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