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Creek now face of the Boomers too


ADELAIDE's 2018 club MVP Mitch Creek, for almost a decade the "face of the 36ers" NBL club, inadvertently has become the "face of the Boomers" for this final window of FIBA World Cup qualifications.

Creek, 27 in April, is the most notable selection in Andrej Lemanis' team for the final FIBA window in Kazakhstan and Iran later this week.

Pursuing his NBA dream in the US, he has started in 25 of the 30 games he has chalked up in the NBA G-League with Long Island Nets - when he wasn't on consecutive 10-day contracts with the Brooklyn Nets - and is averaging 14.5 points at 54 percent, 5.4 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 1.0 steal.

A star of Australia's 2017 FIBA Asia Cup Gold Medal triumph - how he missed All Star Five selection is just another of those wonderful FIBA mysteries - Creek's coach at Long Island is Will Weaver.

Weaver is a member of Coach Lemanis' Boomers coaching staff for major internationals.

Creek and Cairns Taipans' Lucas Walker are the only players in Lemanis' team with senior international experience.

With the NBL semi finals starting next week, Lemanis selected players from those clubs not involved, then lost 36ers Nathan Sobey and Daniel Johnson to international playing contracts.

It means players such as Jarrad Weeks (NZ Breakers) and Tim Coenraad (Illawarra Hawks), also get to wear the green 'n' gold for the first time in road games at Kazakhstan (Friday 1am AEST) and Iran on Monday.

“We were conscious to work with the (NBL) clubs, ensuring the welfare of all players and minimising the disruption for those players in the finals,” Lemanis said.

“As a result, it opens up a wonderful opportunity for some new talent to shine.”

Tom Wilson (2018 SEABL MVP and now at Sydney), Emmett Naar (Illawarra), Harry Froling (Adelaide), Jack McVeigh (Adelaide) and former Kings "big" Isaac Humphries previously represented Australia at FIBA Under-19 and Under-17 World Cups.

Daniel Grida (Illawarra), Jock Landale and Mangok Mathiang all also will wear Australia's colours for the first time in a relevant FIBA series.

Landale and Mathiang join the Boomers from stints in Serbia and Italy respectively.

Like Creek, Humphries has been plying his trade in the NBA G-League, at Erie Bayhawks.

“Mitch bleeds green and gold,” Lemanis said of the former star 36ers swingman and inaugural signing of the new South East Melbourne Phoenix NBL club.

“He’s been doing wonderfully well in the US but for him to now be back in a position to represent Australia is awesome.

“I’m excited to see his development and his experience will be an important piece for the team in these two games.”

Australia already has booked passage to the World Cup in China and while these two matches effectively are dead rubbers, Lemanis wants to finish the qualifiers as strongly as possible.

“This team of 12 has an opportunity to show what they have to offer on the world stage, and with the World Cup the next international event, it is a great time to be playing for Australia," Lemanis said.

The Boomers for Kazakhstan and Iran are: Tim Coenraad (Illawarra Hawks), Mitch Creek (Long Island Nets), Harry Froling (Adelaide 36ers), Daniel Grida (Illawarra Hawks), Isaac Humphries (Erie Bayhawks), Jock Landale (Partizan, Serbia), Jack McVeigh (Adelaide 36ers), Mangok Mathiang (Guerino Vanoli Basket, Italy), Emmett Naar (Illawarra Hawks), Lucas Walker (Cairns Taipans), Jarrad Weeks (NZ Breakers), Tom Wilson (Sydney Kings).

Australian Boomers FIBA World Cup Qualifiers Schedule/Results (times AEDT):

Sixth Window:
February 22: Australia v Kazakhstan at 1am. Live on FOX Sports Australia channel 507.
February 25: Australia v Iran at 1.30am. Live on FOX Sports Australia channel 506.
Fifth Window:
November 30, 2018: Australia d Iran 76-47
December 3, 2018: Australia d Qatar 110-59
Fourth Window:
September 14, 2018: Australia d Qatar 95-43
September 17, 2018: Australia d Kazakhstan 94-41
Third Window:
June 29, 2018: Japan d Australia 79-78
July 2, 2018: Australia d Philippines 89-53
Second Window:
February 22, 2018: Australia d Philippines 84-68
February 25, 2018: Australia d Chinese Taipei 88-68
First Window:
November 24, 2017: Australia d Chinese Taipei 104-66
November 27, 2017: Australia d Japan 82-58

Feb 20

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