McCarron gets call as Boomers test strength in depth
PRIZED Melbourne United recruit Mitch McCarron will represent the NBL champions in the Australian Boomers squad for the next round of World Cup qualification.
It is the first time the Boomers will suit up since wild scenes in the Philippines marred the previous qualification window.
The Boomers have made five changes to that team with Daniel Kickert (suspended), Chris Goulding (suspended), Thon Maker (suspended), Matthew Dellavedova and Cameron Gliddon making way for Matt Hodgson, Mitch Norton, Jesse Wagstaff, Todd Blanchfield and Daniel Johnson.
Blanchfield and Johnson will make their World Cup qualifiers debuts for the September 14 and 17 fixtures against Qatar (in Doha) and Kazakhstan (in Bendigo).
McCarron welcomed the chance to don the green and gold singlet again.
"I always put my hand up for the national team when I can," he said.
"This will be another great opportunity to play some games against some new teams.
"Anytime you put on the green and gold you want to win, it doesn't matter who you're playing."
Former United small forward Blanchfield was a member of the Boomers' gold medal-winning team at the Asia Cup last year.
He averaged 5.7 points per game at 46 per cent shooting while big man Johnson was rewarded for a standout All-NBL First Team season, averaging 16 points, seven rebound and two assists.
Six NBL clubs are represented in the Boomers team, including four Perth Wildcats, three Adelaide 36ers and two Brisbane Bullets.
Boomers coach Andrej Lemanis backed the team's great depth to cover the significant outs.
"As has been proven over the first three windows, one of our greatest advantages is our depth," Lemanis said.
"We have an ability to sustain a level of play and intensity over the full 40 minutes because we can rely on all 12 guys.
"When you consider that we continually alter the make-up of the team it speaks volumes to the depth of talent we have in this country and the standard of play we have in the NBL."
The Boomers, who finished on top of their group at the end of the first round of qualifiers, must play Qatar, Kazakhstan and Iran, with the top three advancing to the 2019 China FIBA World Cup.
They will play six games over three home-and-away series starting in September, November and February.
"These opponents have slightly different styles from what we experienced during the first round, they tend to have more of an inside focus and more power to their game," Lemanis said.
"But we believe we are versatile, it's one of our strengths, and we have the ability to get the game at a tempo that suits us rather than our opposition."
The Boomers' home stands include a game in Bendigo on September 17 and then a double-header at Margaret Court Arena in late November and early December against Iran and Qatar.
September 14: Australia vs. Qatar in Doha at 1am.
September 17: Australia vs. Kazakhstan at Bendigo Stadium, Victoria at 7pm.
November 30: Australia vs. Iran at Margaret Court Arena, Victoria. Time TBA.
December 3: Australia vs. Qatar at Margaret Court Arena, Victoria. Time TBA.
February 21: Australia vs. Kazakhstan. Time TBA.
February 24: Australia vs. Iran. Time TBA.
Todd Blanchfield (Illawarra Hawks), Angus Brandt (Perth Wildcats), Jason Cadee (Brisbane Bullets), Anthony Drmic (Adelaide 36ers), Matthew Hodgson (Brisbane Bullets), Daniel Johnson (Adelaide 36ers), Nicholas Kay (Perth Wildcats), Kevin Lisch (Sydney Kings), Mitch McCarron (Melbourne United), Mitch Norton (Perth Wildcats), Nathan Sobey (Adelaide 36ers), Jesse Wagstaff (Perth Wildcats)