The Australian Men’s and Women’s teams have been announced for the 2013 World University Games, tipping off in Kazan, Russia next month.
Squads littered with Australian Boomers and Jayco Australian Opals stars will make the journey to Russia, with the likes of Ryan Broekhoff and Cameron Bairstow leading the men’s charge, while Marianna Tolo and Sara Blicavs headline the women’s push.
Under the stewardship of Coach Phil Brown, the women’s team will be aiming to continue their tradition of success at the World University Games, where they have medalled at each of the past four events (gold – 2007; bronze – 2005, 2009, 2011).
Australian Boomers Head Coach Andrej Lemanis will also lead an exciting men’s team to Russia, but not before taking his team to China for the 2013 Stankovic Continental Cup.
The squad includes five players with senior Boomers experience (Bairstow, Broekhoff, Igor Hadziomerovic, Jason Cadee and Clint Steindl), with Steindl and Broekhoff heading to their second World University Games.
Tipping off in China on tonight with Australia taking on Argentina, the Stankovic Continental Cup will see Lemanis’ troops play five games in six days, ensuring they will be battle-hardened for their opening World University Games fixture against the Czech Republic on July 7.
Lemanis said he has been impressed by the efforts of his players and looks forward to working with the talented group through a busy period of games.
“The group has been great at embracing the concept of team and playing for one another – a key ingredient in successful teams,” Lemanis said.
“We have a good mix of talents within the team. As with all teams our ability to combine these individual talents in to a harmonious unit, where the whole is greater than the individual parts will ultimately determine our success.
“This next week will give us the opportunity to continue our growth as a team as we prepare for game one against the Czech Republic.”
History is with the women’s team heading to Russia, once again sporting a squad of established Opals and WNBL stars.
Recent Opals debutants Blicavs and Natalie Burton are among of host of players with international experience at senior level eager to add to Australia’s healthy World University Games medal stocks.
The foundation of this medal drive will come from the five players who will compete in the tournament for the second time, with Tolo, Tess Madgen, Stephanie Cumming, Katie-Rae Ebzery and Emma Langford eager to upgrade their 2011 bronze medal to a 2013 gold medal.
In a blow of the eve of the team announcement, Cayla Francis was forced out of the Australian team after suffering a foot injury. The forward-centre, who plies her trade in France at Aix-en-Province, will begin a rehab program with the aim of being available for the Jayco Australian Opals FIBA Oceania Championships campaign in mid-August.
Brown believes his squad has the international experience to again be in the mix for medals at the business end of the tournament.
“We have a good blend of athletes with considerable WNBL and international experience, including five athletes who have competed previously with the Australian team at the 2011 World University Games in China,” Brown said.
“After dropping only the one game (against the USA) in the 2011 tournament, we’re focused at ensuring we get through the preliminary games strongly and continue to build our momentum leading into the medal rounds, giving us the best possible opportunity to win gold.”
The 2013 World University Games takes place in Kazan, Russia (800kms east of Moscow) from July 6-17.
Australian Women’s World University Games Team
Name / Height / Position / DOB / Team
Sara Blicavs / 188cm / Forward / 15 Feb 1993 / Bendigo Spirit (WNBL)
Natalie Burton / 194cm / Centre / 23 Mar 1989 / West Coast Waves (WNBL)
Stephanie Cumming / 178cm / Guard / 26 July 1990 / Townsville Fire (WNBL)
Katie-Rae Ebzery / 178cm / Guard / 8 January 1990 / Sydney Uni Flames (WNBL)
Alice Kunek / 187cm / Guard-Forward / 6 January 1991 / Bulleen Boomers (WNBL)
Emma Langford / 187cm / Forward / 29 Jan 1989 / Logan Thunder (WNBL)
Tessa Lavey / 170cm / Guard / 29 Mar 1993 / Bendigo Spirit (WNBL)
Tess Madgen / 180cm / Guard / 12 August 1990 / Bulleen Boomers (WNBL)
Lauren Mansfield / 170cm / Guard / 18 Dec 1989 / Adelaide Lightning (WNBL)
Olivia Thompson / 187cm / Forward / 20 Jan 1993 / Townsville Fire (WNBL)
Marianna Tolo / 196cm / Forward-Centre / 2 July 1989 / Aix-ene-Provence (France)
Australian Men’s World University Games and Stankovic Cup Team
Name / Height / Position / DOB / Team
Matthew Andronicos / 208cm / Forward-Centre / 24 December 1991 / Cairns Taipans (NBL)
Cameron Bairstow / 206cm / Forward / 7 Dec 1990 / University of New Mexico (USA)
Todd Blanchfield / 200cm / Guard-Forward / 11 July 1991 / Townsville Crocodiles (NBL)
Ryan Broekhoff / 201cm / Guard-Forward / 23 August 1990 / Valparaiso University (USA)
Jason Cadee / 186cm / Guard / 15 Apr 1991 / Adelaide 36ers (NBL)
Andrija Dumovic / 208cm / Forward-Centre / 18 Apr 1993 / BA National Centre of Excellence
Cody Ellis / 203cm / Forward / 24 Apr 1990 / Saint Louis University (USA)
Igor Hadziomerovic / 193cm / Guard / 1 January 1992 / Boise State University (USA)
Mitchell Norton / 180cm / Guard / 1 Apr 1993 / Townsville Crocodiles (NBL)
Owen Odigie / 196cm / Guard-Forward / 18 Jan 1993 / Melbourne Tigers (NBL)
Clinton Steindl / 201cm / Guard-Forward / 15 Mar 1989 / Cairns Taipans (NBL)
Mitchell Young / 206cm / Forward / 6 Aug 1990 / Cairns Taipans (NBL)