2018 Commonwealth Games: Boomers ready to win gold medal at home

By @saihoops on
Boomers, 2018 Commonwealth Games
2016 Rio Olympics - Basketball - Final - Men's Bronze Medal Game - Carioca Arena 1 - Rio de Janeiro, Brazil - 21/8/2016. Ryan Broekhoff (AUS) of Australia, Damian Martin (AUS) of Australia and Kevin Lisch (AUS) of Australia cheer. Reuters /Jim Young

The Boomers, Australia's men's basketball team, is ready to embrace the pressure of heavy gold medal favourites ahead of the 2018 Commonwealth Games, which will be staged at Gold Coast, Queensland, between April 4 - 18 this year.

Although most of Australia's top stars, including Ben Simmons, Joe Ingles, Aron Baynes, Patty Mills and Matthew Dellavedova, are playing overseas in the NBA, the second-string Boomers squad will walk into the Carrara Stadium as the favourites to win the gold medal. 

On Wednesday, strong 12-man squads were announced for both the Boomers and Opals, Australian men’s and women’s teams, respectively. Australia haven't won a gold medal at the Commonwealth Games since the Melbourne Games in 2006. During those Games, both the Boomers and Opals won the championship matches.

Since last year's FIBA Asia Cup, the Boomers own a 10-0 win-loss record with an average victory margin of 27.1 points. Only Canada and New Zealand are viewed as threats to Australia's gold rush in front of home fans. Australia coach Andrej Lemanis wants his team to embrace the favourites tag and play like them. 

“It (the recent win streak) means we go in with a good level of confidence but it doesn’t change anything in terms of how we prepare. We will still need to focus on us and be the best team we can be. Everyone is expecting us to win and I’m happy to be going in with a good team with good players. It’s better than people expecting us to win and having a team that isn’t quite as talented. So we are in a good position," Lemanis said after the squad was announced, via the Courier Mail.

Boomers happy to play without NBA stars

When asked if Lemanis would miss the top-flight stars who are committed to either the NBA or European tournaments, the Aussie coach said that maintaining continuity is integral to the team's success.

“Part of our strategy with the new FIBA qualifying games has been trying to maintain a group through the course of the campaign as best we can because you don’t have a lot of time to prepare before each window.  You want to have some semblance of offensive and defensive understanding and structure when you are building a group. The Commonwealth Games is a great opportunity for us. We get three weeks together, will play some quality games and hopefully have some success along the way.’’

The Boomers squad will be headlined by Rio Olympians Chris Goulding and Damian Martin, Cairns Taipans skipper Cam Gliddon and Brisbane Bullets sniper Daniel Kickert, among others. Brad Newley, the veteran forward, is the lone survivor from Australia's gold medal-winning team from 2006.

The 2018 Commonwealth Games, also known as Gold Coast 2018, is a multi-sport event for members of the Commonwealth. It will be staged at the Carrara Stadium in Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia, between April 4 - 15. Australia will be hosting the Commonwealth Games for the fifth time since the inception of the event in 1930.