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MANILA, Philippines – Australia head coach Brian Goorjian is just taking the bad with the good.
Goorjian said he is excited for the Boomers’ future after they got the boot in the FIBA World Cup following a 91-80 loss to Luka Doncic and Slovenia in the second round in Okinawa, Japan on Friday, September 1.
Despite having one game left to play in Group K, Australia (2-2) will not finish with a better record than unbeaten Germany (4-0) and Slovenia (4-0) – the two teams that will advance to the final phase in the Philippines.
“We learned a lot and I think we’re in the process of change, in style of play both offensively and defensively. We’re all disappointed, but I’m excited about where this thing can go,” said Goorjian.
The Boomers entered the World Cup with title aspirations.
After all, Australia boasted one of the most loaded rosters in the 32-team field as nine of its 12-man lineup are currently signed to NBA squads.
Rising star Josh Giddey of the Oklahoma City Thunder, veteran guard Patty Mills of the Atlanta Hawks, and Xavier Cooks of the Washington Wizards lead the squad.
Other NBA players in the Boomers’ roster include Matisse Thybulle (Portland Trail Blazers), Joe Ingles (Orlando Magic), Dante Exum and Josh Green (Dallas Mavericks), Dyson Daniels (New Orleans Pelicans), and Jack White (Thunder).
Also, Australia won its first Olympic medal when it snagged bronze in the Tokyo Games, with eight of its players returning to represent the country in the World Cup.
But as this unpredictable World Cup has seen, not even the best teams are safe.
Ranked third in the world, the Boomers became the second top five nation to bow out of contention, joining No. 5 France, which surprisingly failed to get past the group stage.
Only defending champion Spain and title favorite USA remain in the title race among the top five.
Australia, though, will not return home empty-handed from the World Cup as it clinched an outright berth in the Paris Games next year as the highest-placing team from Oceania.
“It starts now, the preparation for the Olympics,” said Goorjian. “Definitely, a clearer picture after playing in this tournament.”
Joining Slovenia and Germany as early final phase entrants are Group J squads USA and Lithuania, which are also undefeated through four games. – Rappler.com