MARTIN RETURNS TO BOOMERS IN TIME FOR FIBA WORLD CUP QUALIFIERS

MARTIN RETURNS TO BOOMERS IN TIME FOR FIBA WORLD CUP QUALIFIERS

Absent for the FIBA Asia Cup back in August, Rio Olympian Damian Martin has returned to the Australian Boomers in time for the first window of the FIBA World Cup qualifiers.

The road to the 2019 FIBA World Cup in China begins on November 24 when the Boomers head to Chinese Taipei before they return home to host Japan in Adelaide on November 27 to complete the first window of the qualifiers.

Purchase your tickets for that game at Titanium Security Arena here.

Martin was a member of the Boomers’ most successful Olympic team last year but was not available for the Asia Cup, instead watching the team perform on the television.

Nine members of that team will be back for Australia's next two games with Martin, Nathan Sobey and Chris Goulding joining them.

“I saw how well they played watching from home so to be amongst that group of guys is something I’m really looking forward to,” Martin said.

“In such a limited amount of time together before the tournament, they performed so well as a team and that was the most impressive part to me.

“They implemented the offensive and defensive systems of the coaches and I was very excited to see guys like Jason Cadee and Mitch Creek get the opportunity as well as my Perth Wildcats team mate Angus Brandt who I thought played fantastic.”

Playing alongside these younger athletes means Martin will assume the veteran role within the team but it is a position he is comfortable with.

“It’s exciting to play alongside some new faces, guys I’ve never called team mates and only ever played against.

“Getting to know them on and off the court will be great. It’s one thing to scout them but another to see them day to day in training and then see how well they handle themselves in the build up to big games.

“It’s important to establish who we are as a playing unit and establish the style of basketball that Andrej Lemanis believes can lead us eventually to a gold medal.”

Representing the Boomers on and off for over a decade, Martin says the level of elation never dissipates when told he will be putting the green and gold on again.

“I was over the moon when I was told the news. Every opportunity you get to play for Australia is special.

“The NBA guys cannot be available for these games but that doesn’t take away from how special it is to be selected and we now have a duty to qualify the team for the World Cup.”

Under this new qualification system from FIBA, the Boomers will play at home more than ever before which also gives fans the opportunity to see their national team more often.

“I haven’t played many meaningful games for Australia in Australia, just one or two exhibition games in Perth and Melbourne and an Oceania series here and there,” Martin said.

“But this new system is brilliant and is going to make young kids want to play basketball professionally and represent Australia because it’s at their doorstop.

“There’s no reason not to get out there and support the Boomers which is something I didn’t get to do too much as a kid.”

The Boomers’ first contest on home soil will come on November 27 in Adelaide, a place that Martin is very familiar with, albeit under more hostile conditions.

“I’ve played in front of Adelaide in a Grand Final series and it was one of the loudest, most deafening crowds I’ve ever played in front so being on the positive side of that cheering should be incredible.”

Australia face Chinese Taipei on November 24 at 10pm AEDT in the first game of their FIBA World Cup qualifiers before hosting Japan in Adelaide on November 27 at 7.30pm AEDT to close out the first window.

Get your tickets for that game at Titanium Security Arena from 7pm here.

Both games will be available to watch on FOX Sports Australia channel 503.

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