Australia national team coach Brett Brown said his team was better than its departing 87-58 loss against Slovenia in the Eight Final of the 2010 FIBA World Championship. And he said an increasing number of Aussies playing in Europe will help the side in the future.
“We played better in this tournament than what you see from this final result. And that is disappointing,” said Brown after the loss.
“This championship was a good experience for us. Losing it that way is a disappointment for us,” added Australian veteran Matt Nielsen.
Still Brown, who coached Australia for the first time in a major championship, has the lofty goal of bringing the side among the international elite.
“The first thing we need to do is get Andrew Bogut back into the mix. He is the crown jewel of our program and we are not the same without him,” said Brown.
But the on-going development of more European clubs signing Australian players will help Team Australia as well.
“European basketball is more sophisticated than the Australian league. Their defense is stronger, and European players have more experience and that will help us,” said Brown.
Dozens of Australians have been going to college in the United States and now more of them are heading onto Europe to play their club ball should they not make the NBA.
Nielsen has played a number of years in Europe as had fellow veteran David Andersen. But a number of more Aussies are suiting up for European clubs. Among those players in Turkey were Mark Worthington (Brose Baskets, Germany), Aleks Maric (Panathinaikos, Greece), Steven Markovic (Red Star, Serbia), Joe Ingles (Granada, Spain), David Barlow (Cai Zaragoza, Spain), Aron Baynes (EWE Baskets, Germany) and Brad Newley (Lietuvos Rytas, Lithuania). In addition, Patty Mills spent last season in the NBA with Portland and Daniel Kickert is with Gran Canaria in Spain.