Australia men's national basketball team
|FIBA ranking||11 2|
|FIBA zone||FIBA Oceania|
|National federation||Basketball Australia|
|FIBA World Cup|
|FIBA Oceania Championship|
|Medals|| Gold: 1971, 1975, 1978, 1979, 1981, 1983, 1985, 1987, 1989, 1991, 1993, 1995, 1997, 2003, 2005, 2007, 2011, 2013
Silver: 2001, 2009
The Australian national basketball team is the men's basketball side that represents Australia in international competitions. The team is known in Australia as the Boomers, an Australian slang term for Kangaroo. Australia is currently ranked 11th in the FIBA World Rankings, and finished 7th at the 2012 London Olympic Games.
Australia is a regional power in all forms of basketball. Placed in the relatively weak FIBA Oceania region, the Boomers' qualification for the Summer Olympic Games and FIBA World Cup is often a three match competition against the other regional power, the New Zealand Tall Blacks.
Traditionally, the Boomers have been selected from the teams making up the Australian National Basketball League. This has changed in recent years, with many Australian players heading to the stronger Euroleague to play, and several heading to the National Basketball Association in the United States. The Boomers roster for the 2014 World Cup featured five NBA players: Cameron Bairstow with the Chicago Bulls, Aron Baynes with the San Antonio Spurs, Matthew Dellavedova with the Cleveland Cavaliers, and Dante Exum and Brock Motum with the Utah Jazz. Two other players who were ruled out of the World Cup due to injury play in the NBA, namely Andrew Bogut of the Golden State Warriors and Patty Mills of the Spurs. Further, several players on youth national teams are student athletes in the US college basketball system, and some players have made the senior national team while still at US schools. By the early 21st century, close to half of the squad were playing outside of Australia. The trend of Boomers based outside of Australia has accelerated in the 2010s. For the 2012 London Olympic Games, only two members of the Australian squad were based in the country – Peter Crawford and Adam Gibson, with the latter being the only Australia-based member of the 2014 World Cup squad. The development of the Australian Institute of Sport has helped the establishment of Australia on the international stage.
Australia has participated in the most Olympic men's basketball tournaments (13) without winning a medal. Australia has also participated in 11 FIBA World Cups without winning a medal, making Australia the nation with the second most appearances at the tournament without winning a medal, behind Canada and Puerto Rico (both 13).
Australia debuted on the international stage at the 1956 Summer Olympic Games held in Melbourne. Australia did not fare well in the competition, defeating only two sides, (Singapore and Thailand), and finishing 12th. The seeds were sown for Australia to become a regular team in international events.
After not qualifying for the 1960 Summer Olympic Games in Rome, Italy, Australia returned to compete at the 1964 Tokyo Summer Olympic Games. The Australians improved on their position in Melbourne, to be ranked ninth at the completion of the games.
After failing in their bid to qualify for the 1968 Summer Olympics in Mexico City, the Australians were left in international isolation. They would not play again in a major international tournament until 1970, when the team qualified for the FIBA World Championship for the first time. The team finished in 12th place, with their sole victory coming over the United Arab Republic.
The 1972 Munich Olympic Games was a changing of the guard for the Australians. Lindsay Gaze made his coaching debut, after playing at the 1964 Summer Olympics. Australia again finished ninth, but close defeats to Czechoslovakia and Spain left the team close to advancing to the second round. Eddie Palubinskas was the holder of the second highest scoring average of the tournament.
Although the 1976 Montreal Olympic Games represented a huge step forward for the Boomers. Eddie Palubinskas finished as the top overall scorer, and set three Olympic scoring records, including the most points scored in a single Olympics to that time, with 269 points. The Boomers defeated Mexico 120–117 in an overtime game, and defeated Japan 117–79, as they moved to the second round of the tournament for the first time, on their way to an eighth place finish.
In 1978, the Boomers headed to the Philippines for the 1978 FIBA World Championship. Australia played their most successful tournament to that time, defeating Czechoslovakia, the Dominican Republic, the Philippines (twice), and playing eventual gold medallist Yugoslavia tough, losing a close game 105–101. The Boomers advanced to the semi-final round, and placed seventh.
In the 1980 Moscow Olympic Games, the Boomers played their best Olympic tournament to that date, equalling their 1976 finish of eighth place. The Boomers defeated eventual silver medallist Italy, 84–77 in the preliminary round, but due to a three way tie with Italy and Cuba, the team failed to advance to the final round, despite a strong 5 wins 2 losses record.
The Boomers were captained at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Games by Phil Smyth, and introduced coach Lindsay Gaze’s 19 year old son, Andrew Gaze, to the world stage. Australia advanced to the second round, following victories over Brazil and West Germany. A loss to Italy, and a 16 point win over Egypt, left the Boomers in a must win situation against Spain, to advance to the medal round. Spain went up big early in the first half, but the Boomers fought back hard, ultimately losing by a close score of 101–93, ending their medal hopes with an Olympic best seventh place finish.
Motivated by the 1986 FIBA World Championship, Australia showed up to the 1988 Seoul Olympic Games with quite possibly its most talented roster to that date. Captained by Phil Smyth, the team included Andrew Gaze, Damian Keogh, and future Chicago Bulls star Luc Longley. The Boomers breezed through the first round, losing only to gold medallist Soviet Union and silver medallist Yugoslavia. Finishing third place in their group, Australia advanced to the quarter finals, where they defeated Spain in a closely fought game, by a score of 77–74, sending the Boomers to their first ever semi-finals. There they met the United States, who ended Australia’s dream run with a 78–55 victory. Despite the disappointing loss, the Boomers’ fourth place finish solidified their status as a rising team.
Two years later, Australia flew off to Buenos Aires for the 1990 FIBA World Championship. Led by Andrew Gaze’s 24.3 points per game, fourth most in the tournament, the team defeated China, Brazil and Argentina (twice) on their way to a respectable seventh place finish.
At the 1992 Barcelona Olympic Games, the Boomers looked to prove their fourth place run at Seoul was no fluke. In the first Summer Olympic Games since the Soviet Union’s dissolution, and the first that FIBA allowed professional basketball players to play in, Australia played to a respectable 4–4 record and sixth place.
At the 1994 FIBA World Championship at Toronto, Andrew Gaze took the Boomers on his back, leading the tournament with an outstanding average of 23.9 points per game. In victories over Puerto Rico, South Korea, and Cuba, Gaze scored 34, 31, and 30 points, respectively. Australia finished with a 5–3 record, good for fifth place in Phil Smyth’s last appearance as a player.
The 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games were another outstanding showing for Australia. Led by Andrew Gaze, and featuring Shane Heal, the team rolled through the early competition, losing only to silver medallist Yugoslavia, and scoring over 100 points in every other preliminary game. In the quarterfinals, the Boomers played a hard fought game against Croatia. The game came down to the wire, as forward Tony Ronaldson hit an unforgettable 3-pointer to win the game, and advance Australia to the semi-finals. There they met the United States, who were powered by a stacked roster of professional NBA players, and the Boomers were dispatched 101–73. Lithuania would defeat Australia in the bronze medal game, but the Boomers equalled their 1988 fourth place finish.
Following their exciting run at Atlanta, the Boomers showed up in Greece, for the 1998 FIBA World Championship with high hopes. Shane Heal and Andrew Gaze both finished among the top five scorers, with averages of 17.0 and 16.9 points per game, respectively; but a loss to the United States knocked Australia out of medal contention. The Boomers finished the tournament respectably with wins over Canada and Brazil, and walked away with ninth place.
The 2000 Summer Olympic Games projected to be an extremely exciting affair for the Boomers, as they would be playing host in Sydney. Despite losses in both of their first two games, Australia recovered nicely, and won their next four games over Russia, Angola, and Spain, to propel them into the quarter finals, where they defeated Italy. But Australia’s first basketball medal was not to be, as France won the semi final match, and Lithuania captured the bronze medal game. Although their goal of medalling was not achieved, the Boomers gave the home crowd plenty to cheer about, on their way to a fourth place finish.
After failing to qualify for the 2002 FIBA World Championship, the Boomers came into the 2004 Athens Olympic Games hungry for victory. Captained by Shane Heal, and featuring Andrew Bogut in his international debut, Australia fought hard on their way to a ninth place finish.
At the 2006 FIBA World Championship in Japan, Australia was led in scoring by Andrew Bogut, C.J. Bruton, and Jason Smith. Despite their efforts, the Boomers failed to qualify for the playoff rounds, and finished tied for ninth place.
The Boomers entered the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games with one of their more talented rosters to date, which included Andrew Bogut, C.J. Bruton, Captain Matthew Nielsen, and Patrick Mills, in his international debut. Despite his youth, Mills had a hot hand, scoring over 20 points on several occasions, and leading the team with an average of 14.2 points per game. Australia made the quarter finals, but gold medallists United States put the Boomers away late in the game, ending their run with a seventh place finish.
Two years later, the Boomers entered the 2012 London Olympic Games with arguably their most talented roster since 2000, though they were missing their star centre Andrew Bogut, who was out with a broken ankle. Australia made the quarter finals with a 3–2 win-loss record, but gold medallists United States put the Boomers away late in the game, ending their run with a seventh place finish again.
Following the London Olympics, Brett Brown announced his decision to step down as Boomers head coach, citing his desire to spend more time with his family in the United States. As of December 2012, Basketball Australia was yet to announce his replacement, although one of his assistants, dual National Basketball League championship winning coach with the New Zealand Breakers, Andrej Lemanis, was one of the favourites to win the job.
By virtue of winning the 2013 FIBA Oceania Championship, Australia qualified for the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup in Spain. Australia was drawn into Group D, alongside Lithuania, Slovenia, Angola, Mexico and South Korea. After suffering an opening round 90-80 loss to Slovenia, Australia bounced back, stringing together three consecutive wins over South Korea, Lithuania and Mexico, the first time in 16 years that Australia had won 3 consecutive matches at the FIBA World Cup. However, in their next match Australia suffered a shock 91-83 loss to Angola, which came despite leading by 15 points in the middle of the third quarter. This result, combined with Lithuania's 67-64 win over Slovenia meant that Australia finished third in their group, qualifying for the knockout stage of the tournament.
Due to the fact that Australia would finish third by losing, and that finishing third would benefit Australia more than finishing second, combined with the absences of fit key players Aron Baynes and Joe Ingles led to allegations that Australia deliberately lost their game against Angola in order to finish third in their group, and as a result, avoiding the United States until the semi-finals, with Slovenian basketballer Goran Dragić posting "Basketball is a beautiful sport, there is no room for fixing the game like today Australia vs Angola!! @FIBA should do something about that!" on Twitter. However, these claims were denied by Boomers coach Andrej Lemanis.
Australia met World No. 7 Turkey in the knockout stage of the tournament. Australia suffered a 65-64 loss to Turkey, ending their World Cup campaign, meaning that for the 11th World Cup, Australia would return home empty handed.
Australia men's national basketball team - 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup roster
|C||Aron Baynes||Nathan Jawai|
|PF||Cameron Bairstow||David Andersen||Brock Motum|
|SF||Joe Ingles||Brad Newley|
|SG||Dante Exum||Ryan Broekhoff||Chris Goulding|
|PG||Matthew Dellavedova||Adam Gibson|
- David Andersen
- Andrew Bogut
- Ray Borner
- Mark Bradtke
- C.J. Bruton
- Martin Cattalini
- Frank Drmic
- Andrew Gaze
- Lindsay Gaze
- Adam Gibson
- Brian Goorjian
- Ricky Grace
- Scott Fisher
- Shane Heal
- Adrian Hurley
- Jesse Schruhm
- Dylan Wylde
- Luc Longley
- Brett Maher
- Mike McKay
- Anatoly Bose
- Sam Mackinnon
- Patrick Mills
- Danny Morseu
- Matthew Nielsen
- Eddie Palubinskas
- Aron Baynes
- John Rillie
- Paul Rogers
- Tony Ronaldson
- Glen Saville
- Luke Schenscher
- Larry Sengstock
- Jason Smith
- Phil Smyth
- Andrew Vlahov
A red box around the year indicates tournaments played within Australia
|Summer Olympic Games record|
|Berlin 1936||Did not participate|
|Rome 1960||Did not participate|
|Mexico City 1968||Did not participate|
|Los Angeles 1984||Quarter-finals||7th||8||4||4|
|Rio de Janeiro 2016||Not Qualified Yet|
FIBA World Cup
NB: This competition was known as the FIBA World Championship through the 2010 edition.
|FIBA World Cup record|
|Argentina 1950||Did not participate|
|Puerto Rico 1974||Playoff||12th||8||2||6|
|United States 2002||Did not qualify|
|Spain 2014||Round of 16||12th||6||3||3|
FIBA Oceania Championship
|FIBA Oceania Championship record|
|New Zealand 1971||Champions||1st||3||3||0|
|New Zealand 1978||Champions||1st||3||2||1|
|New Zealand 1981||Champions||1st||2||2||0|
|New Zealand 1983||Champions||1st||2||2||0|
|New Zealand 1987||Champions||1st||3||3||0|
|New Zealand 1991||Champions||1st||2||2||0|
|New Zealand 1993||Champions||1st||3||3||0|
|New Zealand 1997||Champions||1st||3||3||0|
|New Zealand 1999||Did not participate|
|New Zealand 2001||Runner-up||2nd||3||1||2|
|New Zealand 2005||Champions||1st||3||3||0|
|Australia / New Zealand 2009||Runner-up||2nd||2||1||1|
|New Zealand / Australia 2013||Champions||1st||2||2||0|
FIBA Diamond Ball
|FIBA Diamond Ball record|
|Hong Kong 2000||Champions||1st||3||3||0|
|Serbia and Montenegro 2004||Playoff||5th||3||1||2|
|United Kingdom 2012||Cancelled|
FIBA Stanković Cup
|FIBA Stanković Cup record|
|China 2005||Third place||3rd||5||3||2|
|China 2007||Did not participate|
|China 2008||Did not participate|
|Commonwealth Games record|
- Australia men's national basketball team 2011–12 results
- Australia men's national basketball team 2012–13 results
- Australia men's national basketball team 2013–14 results
- Australia men's national basketball team 2014–15 results
- FIBA Oceania Championship
- Al Ramsay Shield
- Australia women's national basketball team
- Australia Under 19 Women's National Basketball Team
- Australia men's national wheelchair basketball team
- Australia women's national wheelchair basketball team
- Brown quits as Boomers coach
- LEMANIS LEAVES SKYCITY BREAKERS WITH MIXED EMOTIONS
- Lemanis confirmed as Boomers coach
- Andrej Lemanis appointed new Australian Boomers Coach
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