By Jessica Robinson
For the first time since his 2011 Under 16 campaign with NSW Metro, Australian Boomer, Thon Maker will hit the court back in Australia, tipping off tonight at John Cain Arena.
Returning to the senior national team for his second series representing the Boomers, these FIBA World Cup Qualifiers back on home turf come with a sentimental feeling for the 7-foot big man.
“I can’t wait, and this is the first time (playing at home) since U16 AJCs. My mum and some of my sisters haven’t seen me play except on TV, so this is very exciting,” Maker told BA Media.
With that in the back of his mind throughout the lead-up to the Thursday night tip-off, Maker’s all in on embracing that ‘golden standard’ for every moment of his time with the national team. A standard that has started at the top with Head Coach, Brian Goorjian and is now embedded in the Boomers’ culture.
“The mindset is gold. Golden standard behaviour. Everything we do off the court, the preparation on your own or with the group, we’re aiming for gold. We’ve all had the mindset of being locked in so there’s no moment wasted.”
“It’s been great with Goorj, he’s awesome, and his communication is easy and easy to understand as a player. You don’t question him as a player, you just do it and it works out. He also is a great leader, he’s given the floor to all the assistant coaches to say something, and they’ve got his back, it’s been great so far.”
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After six years playing overseas- with the majority of the time within the NBA- and then ruling himself out of the Tokyo Olympics selection, Maker has had his eyes locked on returning to not only Australia but the way he enjoys his game when playing alongside the Boomers. He thanks one particular great of our game, Luc Longley for directing him in the national team direction all those years ago.
“Last time I came back and the first time I played for the Boomers, I spoke to Luc Longley and the biggest thing I said was that I wanted to enjoy playing the game, so when I came here, he assured me that would happen and I had a blast on that trip, now it’s happening all over again. It’s always a fun one.”
The Boomers will launch their home court FIBA World Cup Qualifying three-game series tonight at John Cain Arena. Final tickets are still available.
FIBA WORLD CUP QUALIFIERS SCHEDULE:
|Thursday, June 30||Australia v China||6:30pm AEST|
|Friday, July 1||China v Chinese Taipei||5:00pm AEST|
|Friday, July 1||Japan v Australia||7:30pm AEST|
|Sunday, July 3||Japan v Chinese Taipei||4:00pm AEST|
|Sunday, July 3||China v Australia||6:30pm AEST|
|Monday, July 4||Chinese Taipei v China||6:30pm AEST|