The Australian mens' basketball team, the Boomers, can qualify for the 2019 World Cup with a victory over Iran tonight. Ahead of the big game, The CEO Magazine caught up with national coach Andrej Lemanis.
Lemanis says, however, that the Boomers will not be taking the Iranian team, ranked 25th in the world and currently second in their qualifying pool, lightly.
“They’re certainly a very good offensive team,” Lemanis says.
“They play what you could almost call a European style in the way they’re controlled offensively.
“They run good stuff and set very good screens, they know how to get people open. We’re going to have to do some stuff to be disruptive to all that.”
Boomers’ coach Andrej Lemanis. Photo credit: Basketball Australia
Cam Gliddon expected to step up in Chris Goulding’s absence
One of the Boomers’ offensive weapons will be sweet-shooting guard Cam Gliddon, who Lemanis also coaches at the Brisbane Bullets.
In this NBL season, Gliddon is putting up 8.6 three-point attempts a game, the most of any player, and converting at a healthy 42%.
“He’s always shot the ball well, but he’s shooting it particularly well this season,” Lemanis says of Gliddon.
“The main thing where he’s grown this season is the mindset to seek out opportunities, be aggressive and find his looks.
“We’ll need that this game. That’s something that (injured Melbourne United Star) Chris Goulding does particularly well and now that role needs to fall to others, but (Gliddon) can take over some of that scoring punch for sure.”
For domestic-based players such as Gliddon, the game against Iran and Monday’s meeting with Qatar are valuable opportunities to show what they can do at international level and to push for inclusion in the full Boomers squad when NBA stars like Patty Mills and Aron Baynes become available.
“Now I’m back here wearing the green and gold, it’s special.” – @Natejawai
— NBL (@NBL) November 29, 2018
The games will also feature a return to the green and gold for hulking centre Nate Jawai, who comes in for the injured Angus Brandt.
“What we run structurally will remain the same,” Lemanis says of the change.
“But Nate’s ability to present a target near the basket is something we can utilise. The way he scores and passes out of the post is also something we can use.
“(Iran) have got some big boys that crash the boards well and have a bit of bulk about them, but Nate’s size and defensive presence is something that can help negate that.
TOMORROW | In 24 hours, the 🇦🇺 Boomers will take on Iran 🇮🇷 to start the 5th window of @FIBAWC qualifiers!
— Basketball Australia (@BasketballAus) November 29, 2018
Rookie Harry Froling is putting up a strong case for Boomers selection
Another big man on the Boomers’ radar is rookie Harry Froling, who didn’t make the team this time but has turned heads with his fiery play and valuable combination of size and three-point shooting range.
“Harry’s been playing well,” Lemanis says of the 20-year-old.
“He was certainly discussed and considered but he would also need to take someone’s place and these are proud basketballers that see it as a privilege to represent Australia.
“Harry’s just got to keep chipping away and doing what he’s doing and improving.”
One thing Froling already seems to have down is the intensity, which Lemanis says is a vital ingredient for Boomers teams, even when they enter matches like this pair of games where they are expected to win handsomely.
“I don’t pay that much attention to world rankings, but international basketball is damn good. Every time you come out, you’ve got to get after it and play well.”