NBA forward Jonah Bolden has withdrawn from the Australian Boomers’ FIBA World Cup campaign, citing personal reasons.
Basketball Australia made the announcement via a media release on Sunday night, explaining that Bolden is set to return to the United States where he is contracted to the Philadelphia 76ers.
The athletic forward was a standout in Australia’s bounce back victory over Canada on Saturday, scoring 12 points and grabbing 5 rebounds in a reserve role.
His withdrawal is a major blow to the Boomers’ chances of claiming a medal at the upcoming World Cup and comes just days out from this week’s historic clashes with Team USA at Melbourne’s Marvel Stadium.
In the statement released by Basketball Australia, Boomers head coach Andrej Lemanis said he supports Bolden’s decision to pull-the-pin.
“My first thought is always with the player in these situations – having to withdraw from the national team is tough for anyone,” Lemanis said.
“From a team perspective, the timing is sub-optimal, but again, we are very fortunate to have the depth of talent we have in this country available to take up this opportunity.
“Whilst it can feel like we need to make a quick decision, the most important thing is to bring in the player that best compliments the other skill sets we have on the team.”
Rio Olympian Brock Motum, who us currently in Spain, and versatile wing Deng Adel are both considered strong candidates to step into the line-up.
“The Canada series has allowed us to understand a little more about who we are as a team and we need to consider all available players to ensure we add the appropriate set of skills that match the needs of the team,” Lemanis added.
The Boomers arrived in Melbourne on Sunday where they are set to play Team USA in a pair of highly-anticipated exhibition games on August 22 and 24 before heading to China for the 2019 World Cup.