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FIBA U19 World Championship Preview: Australia

June 26th, 2011 · No Comments

The Emus have really impressed a lot of people with this generation at the Albert-Schweitzer Tournament in 2010. But is this team good enough to compete for the World Championship? Danny Mills discusses the possibility in his preview of the Australian U19 National Team.

The Australian U19 team, nicknamed the “Emus” enter the 2011 U19 World Championships with lofty expectations and a side that is ready to compete on the world stage in Latvia.

This Australian side shocked the junior basketball world last March when they powered their way through a tough field and took home the Gold Medal at the prestigious 2010 Albert Schweitzer Tournament by defeating Germany in the final. Led by experienced coach Damian Cotter and long-time AIS assistant Paul Gorris, the Emus play the typical Australian up-tempo style of play starting at the defensive end of the floor. Their guards will pressure full-court and their bigs will play very physical inside.

They are a guard heavy team with only 4 players measuring in over 200cm, but this suits their style and their continuous rotations of fresh guards who can come and in disrupt the opposition on defense plays into what the Aussies want to do, and that is dictate the tempo of the game and push the ball in transition, which has been the fundamental staple of Australian basketball at all levels for years. Their “never give up” Aussie spirit will also help them overcome adversity which is sure to happen over such a long tournament like the U19 Worlds.

Here is the 12 man roster for the U19 Australian Emus side:

Jackson ALDRIDGE – 184cm PG – Great Playmaker who sets the tempo for the team. Was recruited heavily by a lot of colleges but committed to Coach Brad Stevens and Butler University for the 2011/12 season

Mitch CREEK – 198cm SF – A great athlete at the 3 position who was the MVP of the 2010 Albert Schweitzer Tournament. Played a great rookie season for the Adelaide 36ers in the Australian NBL under former AIS and Emus Head Coach Marty Clarke

Anthony DRMIC – 196cm SG/SF – brother of former Australian Boomer and NBL great Frank Drmic. Has a bright future and has committed to Boise State University for the 2011/12 season. John Rillie, former Gonzaga standout and Australian Boomer who had a great career in the Australian NBL is the Director of Basketball Operations at Boise State and has provided great results already there with the signings of both Drmic and Hadziomerovic in his first recruiting class.

Igor HADZIOMEROVIC – 195cm SG – Was also heavily recruited by many colleges and tempted to head straight for the big dollars of Europe due to him having dual citizenship with Serbia. Eventually decided to follow his good mate Anthony Drmic and sign with Boise State starting this year when they play their first season in the tough Moutain West Conference.

Hugh GREENWOOD – 190cm PG/SG – The heart and soul of this Aussie team has been in the AIS program for 3 years now and is ready to make history at the World Championships by bring Australia its first gold medal in the U19 category. Team Captain he is a do-it-all player who has very long arms and is able to disrupt on the defensive end of the court and finish over bigger defenders when attacking the basket. Another one who has committed to continue his career in the MWC next season but with the New Mexico Lobos under Coach Steve Alford and following a former Australian great who played with the Lobos in the 1980’s in Luc Longley.

Jackson HUSSEY – 188cm SG – Another feisty guard on the Emus team. Really gets after it on the defensive end and plays hard every possession.

Mitchell NORTON – 184cm PG – Backup PG who controls the tempo of the game at both ends of the court

Mitchell McCARRON – 190cm SF – A tough swingman who can play a multiple of positions. Will be a key contributor for the Emus in Latvia.

Andrija DUMOVIC – 207cm C – A 1993 prospect who has a lot of potential and a high ceiling. Another Aussie who has dual citizenship with Serbia and is already high on the list of many top NCAA schools but has been recently linked to be close to signing with Butler University and joining teammate Jackson Hussey in the fall of 2012.

Lewis THOMAS – 202cm PF – Is a key big man for the Emus in the upcoming U19 Worlds. Will be needed to play bigger than he is and battle in the paint against bigger opponents. Has committed to continue his career in the US this Fall with the Univ. of California at Santa Barbara Gaucho’s.

Daniel TRIST – 204cm PF/C – A mobile Power Forward who has the lateral quickness to be able to guard smaller opponents on the perimeter as well move over to the center position and play bigger than he really is. A very important part of the inside game of the Aussies and will be relied upon heavily in Latvia. Has committed to Lafayette College in the Patroit League starting this Fall.

Will SINCLAIR – 206cm C – A good sized center who plays hard at both ends of the court. Will be needed to contribute in the paint, considering the Aussies lack of size of they are to advance to the medal round in Latvia.

The Emus have had a good lead-up in the past few months to the U19 World Championships with a successful tour to both Croatia and Russia playing a total of 6 games. They performed well in Croatia winning their 3 games series 2-1 including a big 88-60 victory in the final game against the host nation which gave them great confidence heading east to traditional basketball powerhouse Russia for another 3 game series. The Emus again continued their pressure defense and up-tempo style game by taking out the first 2 games against the Russians and only losing the last game by 4 points in a closely contested game. By winning both series against Croatia and Russia 2-1 on their home soil the Aussies went back home with a great deal of confidence that they can and will compete with the best U19 teams in the World.

The Emus are currently in Panevezys, Lithuania competing in the Global Games against the host nation, Brazil and Canada in their last hit-outs before the U19 Worlds start. The Emus first game was against Brazil, the runners-up from the Americas region and they continued to show why they are considered a strong medal contender with a 88-64 win. Just last night the Aussies competed hard against the favored Lithuanian’s but could not get over the line and are now at a 1-1 record with their last game against Canada.

Australia has an experienced group of players who have been playing together for the most part of the last 2 years and have achieved great success. They are a disciplined group who will no doubt play hard and play together every game. The Emus should be favored to finish on top of Group C against Chinese Taipei, Latvia, and Argentina and any finish lower than the medal rounds would be considered a below standard result for the Aussie team.

Danny Mills is currently an assistant coach for UPEA Orlandina Basket in Capo d’Orlando, Italy. He is a former AIS Scholarhsip holder and player for the Australian U19 National Team and also with his dual citizenship played for the Irish Senior National Team. He played his college basketball at Oregon Tech and can be reached at millsdanny@hotmail.com

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