With the 29th Summer Universiade (also known as the World University Games) two months away, the 12-man team for the Emerging Boomers has been confirmed, following the announcement of the women’s team last month (see below).
Held in Taipei from August 20-29, the tournament reflects an Olympic atmosphere with as many as eight games played in a ten-day period while the athletes live in a village for the duration of the Games.
Both the men’s and women’s teams consist of players 23 and under who are currently completing university studies in Australia or abroad.
In the men’s section, five players currently competing in Australia including Kyle Adnam (Deakin University), Matt Kenyon (University of Southern Queensland), Rhys Vague (Edith Cowan University), Craig Moller (Deakin University) and Tyrell Harrison (University of Southern Queensland) have been named in the team.
These athletes are set to join seven Australians who compete in American colleges which include Emmett Naar (St Mary’s College), Dejan Vasiljevic (University of Miami), Tanner Krebs (St Mary’s College), Jack McVeigh (University of Nebraska), Xavier Cooks (Winthrop University), Duop Reath (Louisiana State University) and Gorjok Gak (Florida State).
In 2017, Adnam signed with Melbourne United to play alongside Uniroos teammate Craig Moller. A strong 202cm tall athlete, Moller interestingly swapped codes to basketball after playing junior Australian football in New South Wales, and eventually playing one game for Fremantle Football Club in the AFL in 2013.
South Carolina based athlete Xavier Cooks returns to his second Summer Universiade after playing in the Australian team that finished 10th in Gwangju in 2015.
“We’ve got 12 guys that are really excited about representing Australia,” said head coach Mark Radford.
“There’s a good mix of guys in the NBL whether they are contracted or are development players as well as guys that have chosen the US pathway.
“We have great balance across all positions as well as in athleticism, size and scoring ability.”
The Emerging Boomers have only medalled once at the World University Games, in 2013 when they won silver with a team including future Olympians Cameron Bairstow and Ryan Broekhoff.
“It’s great for the team to be put in an environment that is similar to the Olympics before they hopefully one day get to represent the Boomers,” said Radford.
“Living in the village, dealing with the distractions, functioning with other people and staying focused on what you are there to accomplish is a great launching pad moving forward.”
“We land in Tapiei on July 15 and will go straight to the village where we will then play three lead-in games and have a few training sessions before the first game,” said Radford.
“All the guys are excited about the opportunity and hopefully we can do our country proud.”
Assisting Radford in the coaching duties will be NBL's Perth Wildcats assistant coach Jamie O'Loughlin and Melbourne United's Mike Kelly.
The 2017 Emerging Boomers Schedule for the 2017 World University Games (all times AEST):
Australia have been drawn into Group D for the pool stage where they will take on Ukraine, Lithuania, Israel, Russia (2015’s bronze medallists) and Mozambique.
August 20: Australia vs. Ukraine at 2.30pm
August 21: Australia vs. Lithuania at 5.00pm
August 23: Australia vs. Israel at 5.00pm
August 24: Australia vs. Russia at 2.30pm
August 25: Australia vs. Mozambique at 12.00pm
August 27: Quarter-Finals
August 28: Semi-Finals
August 29: Bronze and Gold medal games
The 2017 Emerging Boomers World University Games team:
|Kyle Adnam||23||Vic||Deakin University|
|Xavier Cooks||23||NSW||Winthrop University|
|Gorjok Gak||20||NSW||Florida State|
|Tyrell Harrison||19||Qld||University of Southern Queensland (USQ)|
|Matthew Kenyon||19||Qld||University of Southern Queensland (USQ)|
|Tanner Krebs||21||Tas||St Mary’s College|
|Jack McVeigh||21||NSW||University of Nebraska|
|Craig Moller||22||Vic||Deakin University|
|Emmett Naar||23||ACT||St Mary’s College|
|Duop Reath||21||WA||Louisiana State University|
|Rhys Vague||22||WA||Edith Cowan University|
|Dejan Vasiljevic||20||Vic||University of Miami|
|Mark Radford (Head Coach)|
Emerging Opals unite from across the world for Taipei
As is the case in the men’s team, the Emerging Opals women’s basketball team also sees athletes from local universities join forces with our Australian basketballers studying at US colleges.
Saint Mary’s Gaels teammates Carly Turner and Megan McKay will compete for Australia alongside Wake Forest’s Alex Sharp and Vanessa Panousis from Virginia Tech while Alanna Smith (Stanford) and Kristy Wallace (Baylor) have been named following their inclusion in the Opals selection camp squad.
Rounding out the Emerging Opals side are Abbey Wehrung and Keely Froling (both studying at the University of Canberra), Alex Wilson (NSW TAFE), Darcee Garbin (James Cook University), Lauren Scherf (Victoria University) and Tahlia Tupaea (Astute Training).
All six of the Australian-based players competed in the most recent WNBL season including University of Canberra Capitals' Froling and Wehrung.
Froling comes from a proud basketball family, with Keely’s father Shane playing in the NBL for 10 years before coaching multiple state and national teams and in the NBL. Mother Jenny also has a strong history with the game in Australia, having won the Australian WNBL title on four separate occasions.
In the 2017 WNBL season, Garbin reached the playoffs as a member of the Townsville Fire, Scherf reached the Grand Final with the Dandenong Rangers and Sydney Uni Flames teammates Wilson and Tupaea clinched the 2016/17 Championship.
To be led by Chris Lucas from the Adelaide Lightning, NBL's Perth Wildcats assistant coach Jamie O'Loughlin and Melbourne United's Mike Kelly will join the team as assistant coaches.
Having won the gold medal in 2007 and bronze medals in 2005, 2009, 2011 and 2013, the Emerging Opals will be aiming for continued success after finishing fifth in 2015.
The 2017 Emerging Opals Schedule (all times AEST):
The Emerging Opals have been drawn into Group D where they will face Russia (last year’s bronze medallists), Lithuania and Argentina in the pool stage.
Winners of the past four gold medals, the USA will also be competing at the tournament alongside Canada (2015 silver medallist) as well as China and Japan.
August 21: Australia vs. Lithuania at 10:00pm
August 22: Australia vs. Argentina at 7:30pm
August 23: Australia vs. Russia at 2:30pm
August 25: Quarter-Finals
August 26: Semi-Finals
August 28: Grand Final
The 2017 Emerging Opals World University Games team:
|Keely Froling||21||Qld||University of Canberra|
|Darcee Garbin||23||WA||James Cook University|
|Megan McKay||20||WA||Saint Mary’s College|
|Vanessa Panousis||22||NSW||Virginia Tech|
|Lauren Scherf||21||Vic||Victoria University|
|Alex Sharp||20||Vic||Wake Forest University|
|Alanna Smith||20||Vic||Stanford University|
|Tahlia Tupaea||20||NSW||Astute Training|
|Carly Turner||22||Vic||Saint Mary’s College|
|Kristy Wallace||21||Qld||Baylor University|
|Abigail Wehrung||21||Vic||University of Canberra|
|Alex Wilson||23||SA||NSW Tafe|
|Chris Lucas (Head Coach), Simon Pritchard (Assistant Coach), Kristen Veal (Assistant Coach)|