Australian Focus

Published on July 30th, 2017 | by Tristan "Air T" Prentice

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All-time Australian Boomers Team

Boydz N the Hood took on the tough task of putting together the greatest Boomers team of all time with the Rio Olympic Games changing some positions in what we thought might be the side pre-2016. We called in our Australian basketball expert and Adelaide 36ers writer Tristan Prentice to help us put the team together. The Boomers team features players from 1960 through to the current squad who still have some history to make in Tokyo 2020!

The Coaches

Head Coach – Lindsay Gaze

Arguably the greatest Boomers coach of all time, he coached the team at four Olympic Games in 1972, 1976, 1980 and 1984. His son Andrew Gaze was part of the team that he coached in 1984. Not too much more clarification needed here!

Assistant Coach – Dr. Adrian Hurley

Perfect for the assistant role where at the AIS he was an assistant coach of the Australia National basketball team to Lindsay Gaze at the 1982 FIBA World Championships and the 1984 Olympic Games. He became head coach in 1985 and coached the Boomers at the 1988 and 1992 Summer Olympics and the 1986 and 1990 FIBA World Championships. In the 1988 Olympics he was the first Australian Men’s team coach to take Australia to the medal round where Australia finished in 4th place. In 1992 he coached the Boomers to 6th place at the Barcelona Olympics the second highest finish for the Boomers in their history to that point.

The Starters

PG – Phil Smyth

The former Adelaide 36ers and national team coach slots in as the premier point guard we’ve had for our country. He represented Australia at the 1980, 1984, 1988, and 1992 Olympics, and has captained Australia more times than any player in Boomers history.

SG – Ed Palubinskas

Edward for most probably doesn’t resonate as a memorable basketballer given the recent guards we’ve had but in an era when Australia were building he was paramount. The first Australian drafted into the NBA by the Atlanta Hawks in 1974, he is BNTH’s only team member to have played in two Olympic Games (1972, 1976). He made a solid impact in those two as the second top points scorer at the 1972 Munich Olympic Games and then went one better as the leading points scorer at the Montreal Olympic Games in 1976. In 23 games he changed Australian basketball and is regarded as one of the greatest shooters to have played the game.

SF – Andrew Gaze

The down-under GOAT despite normally at guard warrants a starting spot so at 6’7 (201cm) I think we can squeeze him in at the small forward spot. The five-time Olympian represented Australia at the 1984, 1988, 1992, 1996, and 2000 Olympics, carrying the flag at the Opening Ceremony in Sydney 2000. He also played in four World Championships (1986, 1990, 1994 and 1998) and has lead the scoring for Australia in numerous Olympic and World Championship campaigns.

PF – Mark Bradtke

Mark “Hogey” Bradtke most Adelaide fans remember as an SA 18-year-old that played for Adelaide then famously went “Lebronesque” to the Melbourne Tigers in one off-season. During this time though he was establishing himself as one of the best power forward/centres of our Boomers side. Debuting in 1988 at the Seoul Olympics, his international career was a proud one representing Australia in 205 games over 14 years, four Olympic games and two FIBA World Championships and claimed two Gaze Medals as Australia’s International Player of the Year.

C – Luc Longley

Anyone that plays with the Chicago Bulls of the 90s surely gets a singlet in any national side but despite that fact repeatedly, Luc Longley proved he was Australia’s premier centre. He played in three Olympic Games (1988, 1992 and 2000) and represented Australia at the 1990 World Championships. In 1989 he also received the Australia international player of the year award making him an undeniable lock for centre.

The Bench

PG – Patty Mills

If anybody can take Smyth’s starting point guard position then it’s the Spurs’ back-up point guard. His season with St Mary’s College in the USA followed with an outstanding freshman season, first earned Mills a spot on the Boomers squad for the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. It was here Mills became the next big thing in basketball leading the Boomers in scoring including 20 memorable points against the Dream Team. He won his first Gaze Medal at just 20, then led Australia again at the 2010 FIBA World Championships, claiming a second Gaze Medal in the process. The 2012 London Olympic Games was another highlight for Mills, leading the tournament in points per game and hitting a monster three-point buzzer-beater to defeat Russia and advance the Boomers to the quarter finals. Mills then led the Boomers to victory in the 2015 Oceania Championship against New Zealand. Qualifying for the 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, he finished second in average points per game with 21.3 leading the Boomers to the bronze medal game against Spain where he had an enormous 30 points. Tokyo 2020 maybe where Mills overtakes Smyth for an all-time starting spot in our line-up.

SG – Shane Heal

The blonde bombshell whose mouth was as sharp as his shooting, Heal is also one of Australia’s most decorated international players and to his credit has produced in some big games. He represented the Australian Boomers at the 1992, 1996, 2000 and 2004 Olympics, captaining the team in 2004 in Athens. Heal also represented Australia at numerous FIBA World Championships but his most famous moment came against the USA “Dream Team” in a warm up match for the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta. The game was played at the Delta Center in Salt Lake City and was won 118-77 by the “Dream Team”. Heal dropped the hammer to lead all scorers with 28 points including hitting 8 of 12 three pointers. Heal had a running battle with NBA superstar Charles Barkley during the game with the two almost coming to blows at one point, though they hugged in mutual respect on-court after the game.

SF – Joe Ingles

Another South Aussie just pips the other one mainly because he’s not done yet either with his international career and is showing that by inking a new deal with the Utah Jazz. Ingles debuted at the 2008 Olympic Games but it was at the 2010 FIBA World Championship where Ingles came of age averaging 10.3 points, 3.0 rebounds and 2.2 assists in six games. At the 2012 Olympics, Ingles was the second-highest scorer for the Boomers after Patty Mills in six games finishing with averages of 15.0 points, 5.0 rebounds and 4.2 assists per game. Ingles then averaged 7.8 points, 3.1 rebounds and crucially for Australia’s shooters 3.2 assists per game at the 2016 Olympics. A worthy selection for the backup small forward.

PF – Andrew Vlahov

When you’re on the international stage, you do need an enforcer to come off the bench and give you some intensity and the former Perth Wildcat fits that mould. Vlahov was a four-time Olympian playing with the Boomers at the 1988, 1992, 1996 and 2000 Olympic Games. He also won the Andrew Gaze Medal in 1991 and 1993. When the team was down you could always count on fiery Vlahov to muscle your team back into a contest so he gets a singlet as the back-up power forward.

C – David Andersen

How good was this guy at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games playing his role to an absolute tee. He burst onto the scene as one of the Aussie internationals in Europe appropriately at Greece in Athens 2004. Andersen then made the Boomers squad for the 2008 Olympic Games where he wasn’t at his best but the standout came in the 2012 Olympic Games starting all six Boomers games and averaging 12 points and 6 rebounds per game. He returned to help the Boomers secure the 2013 FIBA Oceania Championships and again in the 2015 FIBA Oceania Championship. Andersen remains one of the highly underrated players of all time for Australia but at least if that’s the case then auditions are open post basketball career for Tom Green impersonators.

The Reserves

G – Damian Keogh

First reserve in a tough call is veteran guard Damian Keogh. The 6’4 (194 cm) shooting guard or small forward had an international career of 16 years and included three Olympic Games (1984, 1988, 1992). He Played 207 games for Australia between 1981 and 1994, Keogh also competed at three world championships in 1982, 1990 and 1994. Has shown over the journey he’s a great team and link player so perfect for the reserve guard/small forward spot.

F – Sam Mackinnon

“Slammin” Sam was one of the Boomer favourites and brings many tools in a reserve player you want to call upon off your bench. Athletic and a quality shooter, he competed in the 1996, 2000 and 2004 Olympic Games. In 2007, he was also named captain of the Boomers squad for the 2008 Beijing Olympics Qualifying Series against New Zealand.

So here is the final team after all the analysis, let us know what you think below!

Starters

PG            Phil Smyth

SG            Ed Palubinskas

SF             Andrew Gaze

PF             Mark Bradtke

C               Luc Longley

Bench

PG            Patty Mills

SG            Shane Heal

SF             Joe Ingles

PF             Andrew Vlahov

C               Dave Andersen

Reserves

G               Damian Keogh

F                Sam Mackinnon

Honourable mentions: Matthew Dellavedova, Chris Anstey, Brad Newley and Brett Maher

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About the Author

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Guest Writer for Boydz N The Hood. Writer for the Adelaide 36ers and Fiasco Sports, AFL, NBL, SA (South Australia) Basketball and Cricket Enthusiast.



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