A QUARTET of Victorians will pack their bags next month in pursuit of international glory in Argentina.
The Australian Crocs are ready to bare their teeth at the FIBA Under-17 World Cup, held in Argentina from June 30-July 8, following the announcement of their team of 12 to compete at the tournament.
Four Victorians have been selected for the side with Kobe Williamson, Joel Capetola, Jay Rantall and Joshua Bannan have earned their tickets to Argentina.
Bannan was not part of the Under-16 Asian Championships winning side but will make his Australian debut at the FIBA Under-17 World Cup.
It is an exceptional rise in the ranks for Bannan especially, after he earned his spot on his amazing form at the Australian Junior Championships held in Geelong recently as well as the selection camp held over the weekend.
“We had an intensive camp to figure out what we needed post-Asia Champs,” said head coach Justin Schueller.
“We were very happy with the squad but felt we needed to be able to stretch the floor with shooting and add a bit more size. Campbell is a strong centre, Josh is a stretch-4 and Blake is a versatile wing who can shoot really well so we feel we have filled those areas.
“The team then spent time working on who we are and what we want to be for the World Cup.
“As coaches we would always like more time together but we felt that at the end of the camp, we could head over to Argentina tomorrow and do very well. We have a high-IQ group and it’s exciting for us in how quickly we have evolved.”
“The training load has been quite high on the athletes following the Asian Championships, Under-18s and camp so the first priority now is to freshen up.
“Having to continue to evolve apart from each other is another challenge but we have put the things in place to be able to hit the ground running once we depart for Argentina on June 20.”
The pools have been decided for the Under-17 World Cup with the Crocs placed into Group A where they will take on the Dominican Republic, Turkey and Puerto Rico in the pool stage.
Every team then advances to the Round of 16 but from there the tournament enters a knock-out stage through the Quarter-Finals, Semi-Finals and medal games.
“We have an athletic and versatilse team that can play disruptively and I think that will be our point of difference against the other countries,” said Schueller.
“We can pick up full length of the floor and be quite pesky at the defensive end and offensively, our pace, spacing and ability to get into the paint by sharing the ball will put us in good stead.”
The Crocs finished seventh at the tournament two years ago but in 2014, they claimed the bronze medal with Isaac Humphries and Dejan Vasiljevic making the All-Tournament Team while they also won bronze in 2012 with a side that included Ben Simmons and Dante Exum.
“We are mindful of the proud tradition of the Crocs program and the success we have had in the past,” said Schueller.
“We believe we can do something special with this group.”
Press release courtesy of Basketball Australia