Melbourne, June 22 (IANS) The Australian men’s basketball team will head into the upcoming Rio Olympic Games with its best chance of winning its first medal, according to point-guard Patrick Mills.
Mills told a Melbourne radio station on Wednesday that Australia would be fielding a super-competitive team for the Olympics tournament, despite some key withdrawals, reports Xinhua.
“This is arguably the best team Australia has ever put together to go to an Olympics,” he said.
Embarking on his third Olympic campaign with the Boomers, the San Antonio Spurs’ guard said an Olympic medal remained at the top of Australia’s priority list.
“It becomes more powerful and more meaningful on what we’re trying to do as a team to win a medal,” Mills said.
Australian basketball is riding a wave heading into the Olympics, with Victoria-born Matthew Dellavedova winning a NBA Championship with the Cleveland Cavaliers earlier this week, and Australian basketball college superstar Ben Simmons expected to be drafted as the No.1 pick in Thursday’s NBA Draft.
Simmons and fellow Aussie youngster Dante Exum will not play in the Olympics after making themselves unavailable for selection, while there are doubts over the health of Golden State Warriors’ centre Andrew Bogut, who had his knee injured in the NBA Finals.
However, Mills hasn’t ruled out Bogut playing in the Olympics.
“I’m sure he’ll do whatever he can,” he said.
In the past 13 Olympic appearances, the Australian cagers have never won a medal. In both Beijing (2008) and London (2012), they finished seventh, before being eliminated in the quarter-finals.