One week ago, Ben Simmons announced he will be representing Team Australia in this fall’s FIBA World Cup. Now, Sixers fans may have an additional reason to root for the Boomers, as Jonah Bolden was announced as a member of the 17-man training camp roster. Here is the full list of participants:
Here’s the 17-man Australian Boomers squad for the 2019 FIBA World Cup. The squad will be cut down to 12 before the warmup games begin in mid-August. pic.twitter.com/noIoIDk7TD— Olgun Uluc (@OlgunUluc) May 23, 2019
Team Australia’s training camp will begin in Melbourne in early August, after which the roster will be trimmed down from 17 to 12 players. Bolden is coming off a rookie season with the Sixers where he appeared in 44 games, averaging 4.7 points and 3.8 rebounds. The 23-year-old big man has never played with Australia’s main club at the international level, previously taking the floor for the U-19 squad at the 2013 FIBA U-19 World Championship in the Czech Republic. He averaged 2.6 points and 2.9 rebounds in 10.1 minutes per game during that competition. Of course, Bolden has since accrued additional international experience playing for FMP Beograd in Serbia and Maccabi Tel Aviv in Israel.
Last summer, Bolden expressed his desire to play for his country in an interview with Andy Maher on SEN Afternoons.
“That’s never been a hesitation. I’ve always wanted to play for my country. I’ve been in contact with (coach) Andrej (Lemanis) and we have been talking. This summer this (the NBA) has been my focus and he understands that. Now this is what it is, it’s all signed and done, this is still obviously my focus but he knows come the time, I’m ready to represent the country.”
For what it’s worth, Sixers head coach and former Australian national team coach Brett Brown believes Bolden has what it takes be a starter at the international level, relaying his thoughts to Fox Sports Australia back in January.
“As I judge the history of Australian basketball - especially that really important position - I think he can be that. I think he can be a starting four internationally, and he’s throwing his three-point shot. Long-winded yes, but it’s a yes.”
Unlike Simmons, no segment of the fan base is calling for Bolden to use the offseason to completely overhaul his jump shot, so getting to work out with the international club can only be viewed as a positive. Hopefully, Bolden acquits himself well in training camp and Sixers fans will be able to cheer him on with the Boomers. Team Australia’s first exhibition game comes against Canada on August 16, while their group phase of the World Cup begins on September 1.