Australian basketball has never been stronger

Australian basketball has never been stronger

  There is plenty to be positive about if you are a fan of Australian basketball. The team is in good shape and the game is reaching heights of popularity that have rarely been seen in the cricket-mad nation. With the World Cup in China just around the corner, the Aussie team will be busy preparing as they are set to battle in Group H with Lithuania, Canada and Senegal. This, on paper, appears to be a favourable draw for Andrej Lemanis' side but they will approach each game in a state of full preparedness.

The pre-tournament warm-up is set with Team USA visiting Australia ahead of the main event in China and they are bringing out the stars with James Harden, Anthony Davis, Damian Lillard and Zion Williamson - considered basketball's next big thing - among the players set to be involved.

This will prove a real test for the Aussies but there are plenty of reasons to think that the Boomers can achieve their goals this summer. Andrew Bogut leading the way There are not many Aussie players better than Sydney Kings and Golden State Warriors' Andrew Bogut. The 7ft-centre was the first overall draft pick back in 2005 when he was picked up by the Milwaukee Bucks and the 34-year-old helped his current side reach the NBA final.

He is a much-honoured player and during his time in the NBA, he has appeared in the NBA All-Defensive Team in 2015 and won the Championship with Golden State in 2015.

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Strength throughout

Bogut is not the only high-performance player in the Boomers squad, which was announced on 26 May.

They have a plethora of talent and this is, arguably, the best group they have ever been able to put together meaning they're looking competitive as they head to China. The pre-tournament visit of Team USA will provide a stern test for those credentials but head coach Andrej Lemanis was in a positive mood when the squad was revealed.

"No doubt, we have the opportunity to put a great team on the floor and that's exciting," he told reporters at the time.

"Working with the best players in the country is such an honour and privilege - I feel extremely blessed to again have this opportunity. We are excited about the team we will have in China for the FIBA World Cup and the opportunities that lie ahead."

Growing in popularity

The advent of the World Cup has helped boost the popularity of an already well-followed sport in Australia. The depth and quality of the players heading to China to represent the Boomers will only help push fans closer to the game. If Australia can do well in the World Cup then there is no reason why the bright future Australian basketball has can't burn that little bit stronger.