Ten players from the Emus team that won gold at last year’s Under-18 Asian Championships and qualified them for the Under-19 World Cup have been named with Wani Swaka Lo Buluk and Alex Ducas joining them.
“We had a really competitive selection camp,” said Emus head coach Darren Perry.
“With 21 players on the floor as well as some guys currently based in the USA who were unable to attend, it made for some really difficult selection decisions.”
An impressive front court line-up will reunite after starring at the Under-18 Asian Championships, including Samson Froling who paced Australia with 14.2 points and two blocks per game.
He will be joined by Kyle Bowen who averaged a double-double of 13 points and 10.8 rebounds, Callum Dalton (8.3 points per game) and Keli Leaupepe (7.2 points, 7.2 rebounds).
Isaiah Lee will lead the guard rotation after finishing second for the team in assists with four per contest while Kody Stattmann hit 13 three-pointers (sixth best overall) for the tournament.
Tamuri Wigness and Swaka Lo Buluk bring experience after competing in the 2018 Under-17 World Cup while a Victorian trio of Josh Gatbel, Sean Macdonald and Tyler Robertson, who recently claimed the Under-20 Championships gold medal, round out the team.
“We’re looking to play a disruptive, high-energy style of defence and that requires contributions from the entire group,” said Perry.
“As a group we want to play un-selfish basketball and celebrate everyone’s success.”
The Emus will have a training camp in Melbourne in mid-June before heading to Latvia for a warm-up tournament and arriving in Greece in late June for the start of the World Cup.
Ranked tenth in the world, the Emus will face Canada (ranked 2nd), Latvia (13th) and Mali (27th) in the group stage and while every team will advance to the Round of 16, the tournament enters a knock-out stage from that point on.
“Our aim is to develop a group commitment on defence and if we buy into that system, we have the belief that we can challenge for a gold medal.”
The Emus previously enjoyed success at the Under-19 World Cup, winning a gold medal in 2003 with a team that included Andrew Bogut, Damian Martin and Brad Newley and a silver medal in 1995.
The Australian Emus Team for the 2019 FIBA Under-19 World Cup:
|Kyle Bowen||Western Australia|
|Alex Ducas||Western Australia|
|Isaiah Lee||New South Wales|
|Wani Swaka Lo Buluk||Western Australia|
|Darren Perry||Head Coach|
|Chris Ohlback||Team Manager|
The Australian Emus Schedule for the 2019 FIBA Under-19 World Cup (all times AEST):
June 29: Emus vs. Canada at 10.30pm
June 30: Emus vs. Latvia at 11.00pm
July 3: Emus vs. Mali at 1.15am
July 4: Round of 16
July 6: Quarter-Finals
July 7: Semi-Finals
July 8: Medal Games