MARK BRADTKE APPOINTED BOOMERS’ TEAM LEADER

MARK BRADTKE APPOINTED BOOMERS’ TEAM LEADER

Four-time Olympian and three-time NBL Champion Mark Bradtke has made his return to the Australian Boomers as the team leader ahead of the third window of the FIBA World Cup qualifiers.

The Boomers will complete the first round of the qualifiers with two games in the third window against Japan and the Philippines on June 29 and July 2 respectively.

With an unbeaten record through the first two windows, Australia have already qualified for the second round where they will cross over against Iran, Iraq, Qatar or Kazakhstan and success in those final six games will see them qualify for the 2019 FIBA World Cup.

Bradtke has already reacquainted himself with the Boomers and begun liaising with the team as well as organising the logistics of two overseas trips in the space of four days.

“It’s always exciting to be around the Boomers and there are plenty of things on with the qualifiers, the World Cup next year and the Olympics in 2020 so it’s a great time to be with the team,” Bradtke said.

“Mark knows what it means to wear the Boomers uniform,” said Jan Stirling, General Manager High Performance.

“As a four-time Olympian, his passion and desire to help the team will provide the foundation to embrace the opportunities that are lying ahead for the Boomers and he is also very keen to bring his own business acumen to the position of team leader.”

Bradtke’s outstanding resume includes an Olympic debut in 1988 when he became the youngest player to represent Australia in Olympic basketball before going on to play for the Boomers again in 1992, 1996 and 2000 while reaching the bronze medal playoff three times.

“Since I retired I have been working at my own business for the last ten years,” said Bradtke.

“Luc Longley approached me at the beginning of this year, feeling out whether I’d like to take over the role.

“I think he liked the idea of having someone who had played for the Boomers before and I jumped at the opportunity.”

Bradtke was named the Australian Boomers International Player of the Year in 1992 and 1999 before being inducted into the Australian Basketball Hall of Fame in 2013.

Domestically, Bradtke owns the NBL rebounding record, is third all-time for total blocks, fifth for games played and sixth for points while he won Championships in 1993 and 1997 with the Melbourne Tigers and in 2007 with the Brisbane Bullets.

He is also a nine-time NBL All-Star and was named to the All-NBL First-Team on ten occasions before earning the ultimate accolade of league MVP in 2002.

“It will be a different role, going from a player to an administrator but I haven’t played in 11 years so I am looking forward to being around the team environment again.

“Being retired, that is one thing you do miss. At the moment I am spending time doing administrative stuff and planning everything that the guys need before camp but I think it will hit me even more once we get going properly.”

The Boomers will begin their training camp on June 20 and head to Japan later in the month before hitting the court for their last two games of the first round of qualifiers on June 29 and July 2.