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Hors d'oeuvres, from top sauces


THE Boomers have added an X-Man, the NBL has announced a fourth All Star team to hit China next month and another Kiwi is bound for the Boomers ... the Melbourne Boomers.

Xavier Cooks, who has been tearing it up with Wurzburg in Germany, was born in Ballarat, where his father Eric was carving out a stellar SEABL career with the Miners before jumping up into the NBL.

In four years at Winthrop University before heading to Europe, Cooks averaged 14 points, 7.7 rebounds, 2.4 assists and 1.7 blocks and was named to the All-Big South Conference First Team in 2017 and 2018.

He won the Big South Player of the Year award in his senior year.

Basketball Australia revealed a 17-man squad earlier this week but it was expected to be an 18-man group.

Turns out there was a formal documentation process required by FIBA, which, now done, brings Cooks, 23 and a 203cm swingman, into the squad from which Australia's team for the FIBA World Cup will be selected.

MAGIC MOMENT: Xavier Cooks meets NBA legend Earvin "Magic" Johnson after working out for the LA Lakers last year.

* * *

PERTH Wildcats - or is it "Bandits"? - multiple and reigning NBL championship coach Trevor Gleeson will hold the coaching reins next month of the league's All Stars team on its annual trip to China.

Gleeson has an 11-player team for three matches against China from June 19 in the fourth consecutive tour by some of the NBL's finest.

“We have received tremendous feedback from the first three China tours and are excited about continuing the tradition this year," NBL CEO Jeremy Loeliger said.

“Chinese basketball fans are extremely passionate, and we are thrilled to once again take a team comprised exclusively of NBL talent to play against the Chinese national team and increase our exposure in the world’s second biggest basketball market.

“The TV audience in China alone will be enormous and it’s a great platform for us to demonstrate that the NBL remains the pre-eminent league in the region.”

Yes. It is highly likely several billion fans will tune out of China's Got Talent to watch the matches in Qingdao on June 19, Nantong on June 21 and Changzhou on June 23.

Games 1 and 2 will be broadcast live on FOX SPORTS (available on Foxtel and Kayo) and NBL TV, with Game 3 live on NBL TV, delayed on FOX SPORTS and streaming on demand on Kayo.

Adelaide 36ers captain Daniel Johnson, Wildcats’ championship guard Mitch Norton, South East Melbourne Phoenix recruit Kyle Adnam and free agents Demetrius Conger (ex-36ers) and Majok Majok (ex-Breakers) join new Illawarra Hawks boom signing Josh Boone in the lineup.

A championship starter with Melbourne United in 2018 and with its 2019 runner-up, Boone will be keen to impress, having signed for 2019-20 with the Hawks and new Illawarra head coach, Matt Flinn to be one of Gleeson's assistants in China.

The team will gather for a mini-camp in Sydney on June 14-15 and is: Adnam (Phoenix), Boone (Hawks), Conger (FA), Johnson (36ers), Majok (FA), Craig Moller (Kings), Ramone Moore (36ers), Norton (Wildcats), Clint Steindl (Wildcats), Corey Webster (Breakers), Kevin White (36ers).

FINALLY, I GET TO PLAY AGAIN: Free agent Majok Majok is in the NBL touring team to China.

* * *

MAC Adelaide Lightning rookie Penina Davidson is heading across the border (after coming back across the Tasman) to join New Zealand Tall Ferns' national coach Guy Molloy at Melbourne Boomers for the 2019-20 WNBL season.

Fellow New Zealander Kalani Purcell has been a longtime fixture at the Boomers and don't be surprised either if Stella Beck, 23 and a 183cm guard who played at St Mary's College of California in Moraga, is soon in the Boomers' purple too.

As for imports, don't be shocked either if new Phoenix Mercury WNBA shooting guard Sophie Cunningham is running with the Boomers next season.

Cunningham, who will be 23 in August, and 185cm, is coming off a starring college career at University of Missouri.

And, as already predicted here several times, expect former Adelaide Lightning back-up forward/centre Colleen Planeta to continue her WNBL career in Sydney, reuniting with her former Big V coach Katrina Hibbert in Sin City.

BOOMER AND OPAL: Sophie Cunningham and Alanna Smith snapped at Mercury training.

* * *

GREAT highlights today on social media of new Cairns Taipans NBL signing Mirko Djeric during his NBL time previously at Townsville Crocodiles.

It's a pity they didn't revive the time he slammed the ball on the floor in frustration though. Still one of that year's most unforgettable moments.

Djeric (below) hit seven 3-pointers for Dynamic Belgrade in Serbia last round and has much to offer.

* * *

CONGRATULATIONS to SA Premier League clubs Woodville Warriors and Forestville Eagles who on Saturday will wear specially-designed indigenous uniforms at St Clair Recreation Centre to celebrate Aboriginal culture and reconciliation week.

It is an excellent innovation and hopefully the start of further recognition of the role indigenous players have and have had in our great game. That's James Boonstoppel modelling the Warriors' strip for the big night, Forestville's uniform designed by one of its women's players, Ambah Kowcun.

May 30

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