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Daniel out, Daniel in

DANIEL Kickert’s absence through a five-international match suspension has opened the door for NBL All Star Five First Team power forward Daniel Johnson to finally crack Australia’s latest Boomers squad.

Having worked hard on his much-maligned defensive game and perennially an offensive powerhouse, “DJ” joins Josh Green, Jock Landale, Alex Loughton, David Barlow and Craig Moller as “new” faces in the 24-man squad for September’s fourth window of FIBA 2019 World Cup qualifying.

Returning to green-and-gold consideration are FIBA Asia Cup Boomers star Mitch Creek, 2012 London Olympian Adam Gibson and 2016 Rio Olympian Cameron Bairstow (pictured).

Johnson joins fellow Adelaide 36ers Nathan Sobey and Anthony Drmic in the squad from which the 12 to face Qatar in Qatar on September 13 and Kazakhstan in Bendigo on September 17 will be selected.

With no pre-window camp, the team will leave for Qatar a week before the game to acclimatise and prepare for the 61st-ranked national team.

It also then must mean picking a squad of 24 is only for the benefit of show, as none of the new faces will have any chance to impress before the 12 is selected to train overseas.

It almost makes a minor mockery of the squad, if not for the fact coach Andrej Lemanis needs a group from which to pick his dazzling dozen.

“We are obviously pleased to have completed stage one of qualifying on top of our group,” Lemanis said in a Basketball Australia statement today, the Boomers carrying their 5-1 stage one record into the second phase where two wins would have them with a foot through the World Cup door.

“This puts us in a strong position as we now enter stage two of the qualifying process.

“The challenge continues and we all look forward to continuing to work together and grow as a team.”

Chris Goulding has been named for the two-game series but must miss the first match in Qatar due to his absurd suspension for being victimised by the Philippines in the “Melee in Manila” earlier this month.

Basketball Australia has been noticeably quiet on any decision to appeal the ridiculousness of that suspension from an ugly chapter in international basketball, during which the Boomers carried themselves with considerable aplomb.

“As a coach, I feel extremely fortunate to have the privilege of working with such tremendous people,” Lemanis said.

“I’m so proud of this group, the way they represent Australian basketball and their unwavering commitment to the cause.

“As a sport, we are blessed to have these guys representing us on the world stage.”

The Squad is: Cam Bairstow (Brisbane Bullets), David Barlow (Melbourne United), Todd Blanchfield (Illawarra Hawks), Angus Brandt (Perth Wildcats), Jason Cadee (Brisbane Bullets), Mitch Creek (Brooklyn Nets), Anthony Drmic (Adelaide 36ers), Adam Gibson (Brisbane Bullets), Cam Gliddon (Brisbane Bullets), Chris Goulding* (Melbourne United), Joshua Green (IMG Academy, US), Matt Hodgson (Brisbane Bullets), Daniel Johnson (Adelaide 36ers), Nick Kay (Perth Wildcats), Jock Landale (KK Partizan), Kevin Lisch (Sydney Kings), Alex Loughton (Cairns Taipans), Damian Martin (Perth Wildcats), Mitch McCarron (Melbourne United), Craig Moller (Melbourne United), Brad Newley (Sydney Kings), Mitch Norton (Perth Wildcats), Nathan Sobey (Adelaide 36ers), Jesse Wagstaff (Perth Wildcats).
BOOM 24: Daniel Johnson attacking Josh Boone last season. Now he gets a chance, sort of.

Jul 31

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