Written for nbl.com.au by Liam Santamaria
The FIBA World Cup tips off this weekend in China and when it does, there will be no shortage of NBL players and coaches involved.
Here is the full list of World Cup peeps who have links to NBL Clubs.
Adris De Leon (Dominican Republic) – De Leon played nine games for Adelaide last season and, after going on to put up 13 points and 5 assists per game in Poland, ‘2 Hard 2 Guard’ will play back-up minutes for his national team in China.
Ronald Roberts Jr. (Dominican Republic) – Roberts signed with the 36ers in 2017 but a troublesome knee (and other issues) saw him part ways with the club without playing a single regular season game. The 6-foot-8 forward has since been playing in Israel and Germany and is expected to play a big role for the Dominican Republic at the World Cup.
Cameron Gliddon (Australia) – The man with the marvellous moustache will be given spot minutes on this Boomers squad as a ‘3-and-D’ wing. If he can hit shots he might be able to play his way into a larger role. If he can’t, he won’t.
Nathan Sobey (Australia) – Sobey picked up a DNP-CD in the Boomers’ win over USA and if all the other guards are healthy, he’s not likely to see heaps of burn. That being said, Brisbane’s prized recruit could be used to as a defensive hound during some important situations, especially if Matthew Dellavedova gets into foul trouble.
— Brisbane Bullets (@BrisbaneBullets) August 19, 2019
Andrej Lemanis (Australia) – The Bullets head coach will be calling the shots for the Boomers in his third major tournament at the helm of the national team.
Makoto Hiejima (Japan) – Hiejima barely played for the Bullets last season but the scoring guard will play major minutes for Japan over the next two weeks. Japan are in a tough group though, alongside USA, Turkey (more on them in a minute) and the Czech Republic.
Mark Bradtke (Australia) – Bradtke is an NBL and Boomers legend and the Bullets championship player currently holds the position of Boomers Team Leader.
Jarrod Kenny (New Zealand) – Kenny sat out the NZ’s last two warm-up games with a tight groin but the back-up PG practiced yesterday and should be good to go when the Tall Blacks take on Brazil this Sunday.
Scottie Wilbekin (Turkey) – In his one and only NBL season back in 2015, Wilbekin led the Taipans to the Grand Final Series and received All-NBL First Team honours. He then spent three years in Turkey with Darüşşafaka (before joining Israel’s Maccabi Tel Aviv). In 2018 he picked up a Turkish passport and over the next two weeks ’Wilbuckets’ will play a key role on a sneaky good Turkish team, alongside NBA players Cedi Osman, Furkan Korkmaz and Ersan Ilyasova.
Michael Carrera (Venezuela) – The ‘Venezuelan Volcano’ erupted onto the NBL scene two years ago but injuries kept him to just five regular season appearances for the Snakes. The fiery forward will play somewhere in the range of 10-20 minutes per game for a Venezuelan team scheduled to meet Poland, Cote d’Ivoire and China during pool play.
The Hawks have links with De Leon, Nick Kay and Adam Caporn but all three of those guys more recently played with other NBL clubs. Apart from that, it’s business as usual for Melo & Co. as they prepare for the upcoming season.
Chris Goulding (Australia) – The 2018 Larry Sengstock Medallist has a key role to play for the Boomers in this tournament, providing a much-need scoring punch off the bench.
— NBL (@NBL) August 22, 2019
David Barlow (Australia) – Added to the Aussie team at short-notice to replace Jonah Bolden, Barlow will be competing in his third World Cup and fifth major international tournament.
Alex Pledger (New Zealand) – Pledger averaged less than ten minutes a game for the Tall Blacks across their warm-up games, as head coach Paul Henare has been playing Rob Loe the bulk of the minutes at the five. That being said, the Kiwis are going to come up against some very big boys in Group F so the Pledgehammer will need to be ready to have an impact.
Shea Ili (New Zealand) – Melbourne’s new back-up point guard has had an injury-interrupted preparation but he was back on court for New Zealand’s most recent game and looks ready to go.
Tohi Smith-Milner (New Zealand) – Fresh off a solid campaign with Kilsyth in the NBL1, Smith-Milner averaged 4 points in around 8 minutes per game during NZ’s warm-ups. He’ll have some moments.
Paul Henare (New Zealand) – The NBL’s top assistant has his work cut out for him as he tries to lead the Tall Blacks out of a loaded Group F. With their opponents – Brazil, Montenegro and Greece – all possessing some serious size, Henare is looking to mix things up at the offensive end. “We want to play more up-tempo, a bit freer and a little bit more random,” he told Stuff’s Marc Hinton this week. Expect a whole bunch of threes from the Kiwis in China and, if they go down, they could make some noise.
Ross McMains (New Zealand) – Melbourne’s most recently-signed assistant coach has been a member of the Tall Blacks coaching staff since 2015.
NEW ZEALAND BREAKERS
Corey Webster (New Zealand) – Webster is the Tall Blacks’ primary scorer and, let’s be honest, most important player. If he catches fire the Kiwis could pull off some upsets.
— NBL (@NBL) August 27, 2019
Tom Abercrombie (New Zealand) – This will be Abercrombie’s third World Cup campaign and with legendary Tall Black Mika Vukona not playing, the 32-year-old will need to step up as a leader of this group.
Rob Loe (New Zealand) – Loe has been really effective as New Zealand’s starting centre during their preparation, putting up 11 points and 5 rebounds per game. His ability to stretch opposition fives gives the Kiwis a different look offensively and opens up the lane for guys like Tai Webster to penetrate. Across his last four warm-up games, Loe has shot 11-from-18 from three.
Finn Delany (New Zealand) – Fresh off a solid showing at the Las Vegas Summer League, Delany will be looking to carry that momentum into the World Cup. Expect around 15-20 minutes per night off the bench for the bouncy forward.
Jordan Ngatai (New Zealand) – Ngatai has been really efficient in limited minutes during the Tall Blacks’ preparation, shooting 5-of-10 from long range across 6 games.
Pero Cameron (New Zealand) – Cameron played five seasons in the NBL (two for the Breakers and three for the Gold Coast Blaze) and the FIBA Hall of Famer has been a Tall Blacks AC for the past eight years.
Nick Kay (Australia) – The All-NBL First Team forward was big-time against the USA last Saturday and his high-energy play will be important for the Boomers in China, especially up the floor on D and on the glass.
Nick KAY ? USA pic.twitter.com/aQ2qxAgMf2
— Perth Wildcats (@PerthWildcats) August 25, 2019
Luc Longley (Australia) – Longley may have won three rings alongside MJ in the NBA, but the Boomers AC’s real claim to fame is playing two games with the Wildcats back in 1986 – the year before the club’s remarkable finals streak began.
Adam Caporn (Australia) – Caporn spent six years in the NBL as a player (three in Wollongong and three in Perth) and is now the head coach at BA’s Centre of Excellence and a Boomers assistant.
SOUTH EAST MELBOURNE PHOENIX
Mitch Creek (Australia) – South East Melbourne’s marquee man will provide an energetic spark off the bench for the Aussies.
Andrew Bogut (Australia) – The reigning NBL MVP is one of Australia’s most important players and his impact against Team USA last Saturday reminded everyone of just how good he still is. Having said that, the big fella did tweak his ankle during last night’s warm-up game against Germany so hopefully he pulls up okay.
— Basketball World Cup (@FIBAWC) August 22, 2019
‘Didi’ Louzada (Brazil) – At just 20 years of age, Sydney’s Next Stars recruit will play a big chunk of minutes for his national team in China. His impressive all-court game will fit nicely alongside established stars Leandro Barbosa, Anderson Varejao and Marcelinho Huertas.
Will Weaver (Australia) – Sydney’s new head coach has been a member ofthe Boomers coaching staff since 2014.
Joe Ingles (Australia) – Ingles was the NBL Rookie of the Year in 2007 and won an NBL title in 2009. Now he’s a five-year NBA vet and one of our national team’s best players.
Patty Mills (Australia) –Patty, who played 11 memorable NBL games during the 2011 NBA lockout, will carry a big load for the Boomers in China as the team’s primary scoring option.
David Patrick (Australia) – Patrick played one season for the Canberra Cannons back in 2000-01 and is now the head coach of UC Riverside and the most recent addition to the Boomers coaching staff.
Brook Lopez (USA) – the Right Honourable Lord Mayor of Sydney – and future Sydney King – will be looking to give Team USA a scoring punch off the bench throughout the World Cup, riding a wave of positive emotion after a scene-stealing visit to the Harbour City.