A selection camp over the weekend narrowed a squad of 19 to a dozen with six states represented in the team.
Nine players from the Under-16 Asian Championships, where the Crocs qualified for the Under-17 World Cup by winning the gold medal, will return with Joshua Bannan (Victoria), Blake Jones (Queensland) and Campbell Green (New South Wales) the three additions.
“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.”
In addition to the success that several members of the team achieved at the Under-16 Asian Championships, the Western Australian trio of Wani Swaka Lo Buluk, Luke Travers and Luke Jackson claimed the gold medal at last month’s Under-18 Australian Championships while Jones won silver with Queensland South and Victorian’s Bannan, Joel Capetola and Kobe Williamson won the bronze medal.
“The training load has been quite high on the athletes following the Asian Championships, Under-18’s 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 silver medal with Isaac Humphries and Dejan Vasiljevic making the All-Tournament Team while they also won silver 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.”
The Australian Crocs Team for the 2018 FIBA Under-17 World Cup:
|Campbell Green||New South Wales|
|Luke Jackson||Western Australia|
|Hunter Madden||New South Wales|
|Wani Swaka Lo Buluk||Western Australia|
|Luke Travers||Western Australia|
|Justin Schueller||Head Coach|
|Carlee Van Dyk||Physician|
The Australian Crocs Schedule for the 2018 FIBA Under-17 World Cup (all times AEST):
July 1: Australia vs. Domincan Republic at 2.15am
July 2: Australia vs. Turkey at 4.30am
July 4: Australia vs. Puerto Rico at 2.15am
July 5: Round of 16
July 7: Quarter-Finals
July 8: Semi-Finals
July 9: Medal Games