Thu, Jul 21, 12:09pm by Staff Writer
Australia’s best men’s basketballers jetted off to South America this week in search of their first medal at an Olympic games. There is quite a bit of optimism around the nation for the boys in gold to achieve a good result here with the national team assembling perhaps their strongest=ever squad.
The team’s best result at an Olympics is fourth-place which has been achieved three times in 1988, 1996 and at Sydney in 2000.
Sportsbet has rightly installed the home of Basketball, the United States at $1.08 to take home gold for the third time in a row. France and Spain are on the next line of betting at $12 with Australia way down at $76 for the title but are $21 to take home their first Olympic medal.
Before their opening game against France on August 6, the Boomers play six lead up games against other Olympic Nations in South America. They will hit Buenos Aires first to face Lithuania (world rank 3) on July 25 before facing Argentina (ranked 4) on July 26. Their third game will be against Brazil (ranked 9) in Sao Paulo on July 28. The final three games are yet to be set in stone but will to be played on July 30 and July 31 with one last clash on August 3 in Rio.
The commitment shown by the roster of mainly overseas players, which includes six NBA players, shows the squad’s determination and passion for their country. Coach Andrej Lemanis believes his player’s attendance at team camps and international games puts the squad ahead of other nations who quite often rest their stars until the big tournaments commence.
Headlining the list of NBA players whose commitment cannot be questioned is Maryborough’s finest, Matthew Dellavedova. Delly’s had a busy couple of months, winning the NBA championship with the Cleveland Cavaliers before penning a $US38 million move to Milwaukee. He says he can’t wait to make the most of every minute in the green and gold.
On the domestic front, Perth Wildcats point guard Damian Martin can now call himself an Olympian for the very first time. It’s perhaps the best feel good story of the entire squad as Damian has been close on several occasions and was cut at the last minute before the London 2012 games.
WATCH: Damian Martyn on his way to Rio
This honour caps off a standout year for the 31-year old who was named the NBL’s Grand Final MVP when he lead Perth to their second title in three seasons and confessed this week that he thought his Olympic dream had passed him by. Good Luck to Damian and the Boomers.
THROW A DOLLAR ON: Australia to win a medal. $21
2016 Australian Boomers Olympic Team:
Men’s Olympic Basketball Odds:
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