Basketball

Boomers ‘have unfinished business, medal window is open’, says Mills

From the oldest Australian Boomer to the youngest, Patty Mills knows the whole program has an "unfinished business" mentality heading into the FIBA World Cup in China next month.

The Boomers are in camp until the middle of the week when the 12-man roster for the World Cup will be named with four high-profile lead-up games to follow before they head to China.

NBA stars Patty Mills and Aron Baynes in Boomers practice.Credit:Fairfax Media

Veterans like Andrew Bogut, Joe Ingles, Aron Baynes, Matthew Dellavedova and Mills still feel the pain of missing out on a bronze medal in the final seconds of their play-off against Spain at the Rio Olympics and three years later they have a chance to make history in China and at next year's Tokyo Olympics as the men's team have never won a medal at either event.

This camp is the start of that two-year run and the 18 players are almost solely drawn from the NBA, top European leagues and the NBL with first-timers like Jonah Bolden, Deng Adel, Jock Landale and Xavier Cooks pressing for their first major tournament appearance.

"It comes from history and understanding we have never won a medal, the belief in one another and the talent we have in this gym right now and the potential for what we can do," Mills said.

"Now it is all about putting it together, having fun and having a good hard crack at it.

"We have some unfinished business from the Rio Olympics, two years coming up right now is the big picture and we have some time to get on the same page."

The USA still start as favourites in China but this Boomers side has no fear of the Americans due to the bulk of them having either full NBA experience or preseason or summer league NBA experience.

Established stars like Mills doesn't have as much worry when it comes to selection as their younger counterparts but regardless of age or status, Mills believes it's crucial the whole squad bonds considering some who miss out this year could still make the team next year.

The Boomers have also had NBA star Ben Simmons training with them as a precursor to him playing with the team for next year's Olympic campaign.

"As we get older everyone has families, kids and gets married so this is an opportunity to hang out as small boys again," Mills said with a smile.

"Our leadership group has a responsibility to pass on what it means to be a Boomer and play for your country and make sure this program is at its peak knowing the type of talent coming through.

"We understand where we want this program to go and to achieve the number one goal of winning a medal and a gold medal as well."

Australian Boomers squad (six to be omitted for final roster): Deng Adel, Aron Baynes, Todd Blanchfield, Andrew Bogut, Jonah Bolden, Jason Cadee, Xavier Cooks, Mitch Creek, Matthew Dellavedova, Cameron Gliddon, Chris Goulding, Joe Ingles, Nicholas Kay, Jock Landale, Mitch McCarron, Patty Mills, Brock Motum, Nathan Sobey.

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