Australia men's national basketball team

"The Boomers" redirects here. For other uses, see Boomer.
FIBA ranking 10 Increase 1
Joined FIBA 1947
FIBA zone FIBA Oceania
National federation Basketball Australia
Coach Andrej Lemanis
Nickname(s) Boomers
Olympic Games
Appearances 14
FIBA World Cup
Appearances 11
FIBA Oceania Championship
Appearances 21
Medals Gold Gold: (1971, 1975, 1978, 1979, 1981, 1983, 1985, 1987, 1989, 1991, 1993, 1995, 1997, 2003, 2005, 2007, 2011, 2013, 2015)
Silver Silver: (2001, 2009)

The Australian men's national basketball team is the men's basketball side that represents Australia in international competitions. The team is known in Australia as the Boomers, an Australian slang term for a male kangaroo. Australia is currently ranked 10th in the FIBA World Rankings, and finished 7th at the 2012 London Olympic Games.

Boomers old logo

Australia is a regional power in all forms of basketball. Placed in the relatively weak FIBA Oceania region, the Boomers' qualification for the Summer Olympic Games and FIBA World Cup is often a three-match competition against the other regional power, the New Zealand Tall Blacks.

Traditionally, the Boomers have been selected from the teams making up the National Basketball League. This has changed in recent years, with many Australian players heading to the stronger Euroleague to play, and several heading to the National Basketball Association in North America. The Boomers roster for the 2014 World Cup featured five NBA players: Cameron Bairstow with the Chicago Bulls, Aron Baynes with the Detroit Pistons, Matthew Dellavedova with the Cleveland Cavaliers, and Dante Exum and Joe Ingles with the Utah Jazz. Two other players who were ruled out of the World Cup due to injury play in the NBA, namely Andrew Bogut of the Golden State Warriors and Patty Mills of the San Antonio Spurs. Further, several players on youth national teams are student athletes in the US college basketball system, and some players have made the senior national team while still at US schools. By the early 21st century, close to half of the squad were playing outside of Australia. The trend of Boomers based outside of Australia has accelerated in the 2010s. For the 2012 London Olympic Games, only two members of the Australian squad were based in the country – Peter Crawford and Adam Gibson, with the latter being the only Australia-based member of the 2014 World Cup squad. The development of the Australian Institute of Sport has helped the establishment of Australia on the international stage.

Australia has participated in the most Olympic men's basketball tournaments (14) without winning a medal. Australia has also participated in 11 FIBA World Cups without winning a medal, making Australia the nation with the second-most appearances at the tournament without winning a medal, behind Canada and Puerto Rico (both 13).



Australia debuted on the international stage at the 1956 Summer Olympic Games held in Melbourne. Australia did not fare well in the competition, defeating only two sides, (Singapore and Thailand), and finishing 12th. The seeds were sown for Australia to become a regular team in international events.[1]

After not qualifying for the 1960 Summer Olympic Games in Rome, Italy, Australia returned to compete at the 1964 Tokyo Summer Olympic Games. The Australians improved on their position in Melbourne, to be ranked ninth at the completion of the games.[1] After failing in their bid to qualify for the 1968 Summer Olympics in Mexico City, the Australians were left in international isolation.


They did not play again in a major international tournament until 1970, when the team qualified for the FIBA World Championship for the first time. The team finished in 12th place, with their sole victory coming over the United Arab Republic.[1]

The 1972 Munich Olympic Games was a changing of the guard for the Australians. Lindsay Gaze made his coaching debut, after playing at the 1964 Summer Olympics.[2] Australia again finished ninth, but close defeats to Czechoslovakia and Spain left the team close to advancing to the second round. Eddie Palubinskas was the holder of the second highest scoring average of the tournament.[1]

At the 1976 Montreal Olympic Games, Eddie Palubinskas finished as the top overall scorer, and set three Olympic scoring records, including the most points scored in a single Olympics to that time, with 269 points. The Boomers defeated Mexico, 120–117, in an overtime game, and defeated Japan, 117–79, as they moved to the second round of the tournament for the first time, on their way to an eighth-place finish.[1]

In 1978, the Boomers headed to the Philippines for the 1978 FIBA World Championship. Australia played their most successful tournament to that time, defeating Czechoslovakia, the Dominican Republic, the Philippines (twice), and playing eventual gold medallist Yugoslavia, losing 105–101. The Boomers advanced to the semi-final round, and placed seventh.[1]

In the 1980 Moscow Olympic Games, the Boomers played their best Olympic tournament to that date, equalling their 1976 finish of eighth place. The Boomers defeated eventual silver medallist Italy, 84–77, in the preliminary round, but due to a three-way tie with Italy and Cuba, the team failed to advance to the final round, despite 5 wins and 2 losses.

Two years later, the 1982 FIBA World Championship was held in Colombia. The Australians finished in fifth place.

The Boomers were captained at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Games by Phil Smyth, and introduced coach Lindsay Gaze’s 19-year-old son, Andrew Gaze, to the world stage. Australia advanced to the second round, following victories over Brazil and West Germany. A loss to Italy, and a 16-point win over Egypt, left the Boomers in a must-win situation against Spain, to advance to the medal round. Spain went up big early in the first half, but the Boomers fought back, ultimately losing by a score of 101–93, ending their medal hopes with an Olympic best seventh-place finish.

Following the 1984 Olympics, Adrian Hurley took over as team coach from Lindsay Gaze.

The 1986 FIBA World Championship was a bit disappointing for Australia. Losses to Uruguay, Angola, and the Soviet Union during group play kept the Boomers from advancing, and the team finished 17th. Due to a FIBA rule allowing one naturalised player per squad at the World Championship, American born point guard Cal Bruton made his Boomers debut at the age of 32.

In 1987, the Boomers faced a home series against the Soviet Union (known as the Wang Superchallenge) and although they lost all 6 games, the team, with all players drawn from the NBL other than Australian Institute of Sport attendee, 6'10" (208 cm) centre / power forward Mark Bradtke who was making his debut for the Boomers as a 17 year old (Bradtke would make his NBL debut in 1988 with the Adelaide 36ers).[3]

Motivated by the 1986 FIBA World Championship, Australia showed up to the 1988 Seoul Olympic Games with quite possibly its most talented roster to that date. Captained by Phil Smyth, the team included Andrew Gaze, Damian Keogh, Darryl Pearce, Ray Borner, and future Chicago Bulls triple NBA Championship winning centre, 7'2" (218 cm) Luc Longley who was attending the University of New Mexico. The Boomers breezed through the first round, losing only to gold medallist Soviet Union and silver medallist Yugoslavia. Finishing third place in their group, Australia advanced to the quarter finals, where they defeated Spain in a closely fought game, by a score of 77–74, sending the Boomers to their first ever semi-finals. There they met the United States (including future NBA Hall of Fame player David Robinson), who ended Australia’s dream run with a 78–55 victory. Despite the disappointing loss, the Boomers’ fourth-place finish was their best ever result at an Olympic Games (or World Championship) and solidified their status as a rising team.

1990s: Gaze, Heal and Longley

Australia flew off to Buenos Aires for the 1990 FIBA World Championship. Led by Andrew Gaze’s 24.3 points per game, fourth most in the tournament, the team defeated China, Brazil and Argentina (twice) on their way to a respectable seventh-place finish.

At the 1992 Barcelona Olympic Games, the Boomers looked to prove their fourth-place run at Seoul was no fluke. In the first Summer Olympic Games since the Soviet Union’s dissolution, and the first that FIBA allowed professional basketball players to play in, Australia played to a respectable 4–4 record and sixth place. The 1992 Olympics saw the return of NBA center Luc Longley for the Boomers.

At the 1994 FIBA World Championship at Toronto, Andrew Gaze took the Boomers on his back, leading the tournament with an outstanding average of 23.9 points per game. In victories over Puerto Rico, South Korea, and Cuba, Gaze scored 34, 31, and 30 points, respectively. Australia finished with a 5–3 record, good for fifth place in Phil Smyth’s last World Championship appearance as a player.

Smyth, the teams long-time point guard would play one last time for the Boomers in March 1995 in Game 4 of a 5 game series against the touring Magic Johnson All-Stars in front of a packed house (12,000) at the Sydney Entertainment Centre. Although the Boomers were swept 5–0 by the All-Stars (who included former NBA stars Magic Johnson and Mark Aguirre), they pushed the visitors all the way in Game 3 at the National Tennis Centre, while Games 4 (Sydney) and 5 (Perth Entertainment Centre) went into overtime.

The 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games were another outstanding showing for Australia. Led by Andrew Gaze, and featuring Shane Heal, the team rolled through the early competition, losing only to silver medallist Yugoslavia, and scoring over 100 points in every other preliminary game. In the quarterfinals, the Boomers played a hard fought game against Croatia. The game came down to the wire, as forward Tony Ronaldson hit an unforgettable 3-pointer to win the game, and advance Australia to the semi-finals. There they met the United States, who were powered by a stacked roster of professional NBA players, and the Boomers were dispatched 101–73. Lithuania would defeat Australia in the bronze medal game, but the Boomers equalled their 1988 fourth-place finish.

Just prior to the 1996 Olympics, the Boomers played the USA in a warm up game. The game, played at the Delta Center in Salt Lake City, was won 118–77 by the USA, though Heal topped all scorers with 28 points including hitting 8 of 12 three pointers. Heal had a running battle with NBA superstar Charles Barkley during the game with the two almost coming to blows at one point, though they hugged in mutual respect on-court after the game.[4]

Following their exciting run at Atlanta, the Boomers showed up in Greece, for the 1998 FIBA World Championship with high hopes. Shane Heal and Andrew Gaze both finished among the top five scorers, with averages of 17.0 and 16.9 points per game, respectively; but a loss to the United States knocked Australia out of medal contention. The Boomers finished the tournament respectably with wins over Canada and Brazil, and walked away with ninth place.

2000s: Sydney Olympics, Commonwealth Games and Bogut

The 2000 Summer Olympic Games projected to be an extremely exciting affair for the Boomers, as they played as host in Sydney. Despite losses in both of their first two games, Australia recovered nicely, and won their next four games over Russia, Angola, and Spain, to propel them into the quarter finals, where they defeated Italy. But Australia’s first basketball medal was not to be, as France won the semi final match, and Lithuania captured the bronze medal game. Although their goal of medalling was not achieved, the Boomers gave the home crowd plenty to cheer about, on their way to a fourth-place finish.

After failing to qualify for the 2002 FIBA World Championship, the Boomers came into the 2004 Athens Olympic Games hungry for victory. Captained by Shane Heal, and featuring future NBA Draft first pick Andrew Bogut in his international debut, Australia fought hard on their way to a ninth-place finish.

In early 2006, Australia entered the first ever Commonwealth Games basketball competition in their home city of Melbourne and went through the tournament undefeated to claim the gold medal. Later in 2006 at the FIBA World Championship in Japan, Australia was led in scoring by Andrew Bogut, C.J. Bruton, and Jason Smith. Despite their efforts, the Boomers failed to qualify for the playoff rounds, and finished tied for ninth place.

The Boomers entered the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games with one of their more talented rosters to date, which included Andrew Bogut, C.J. Bruton, Captain Matthew Nielsen, and Patrick Mills, in his international debut. Despite his youth, Mills had a hot hand, scoring over 20 points on several occasions, and leading the team with an average of 14.2 points per game. Australia made the quarter finals, but gold medallists United States put the Boomers away late in the game, ending their run with a seventh-place finish.

2010s: Additional NBA players

Team Australia at the 2014 FIBA World Cup before beating Lithuania 82-75.

The Boomers qualified for the 2010 FIBA World Championship in Turkey and placed 10th overall.

Two years later, the Boomers entered the 2012 London Olympic Games with arguably their most talented roster since 2000, though they were missing their star centre Andrew Bogut, who was out with a broken ankle. Australia made the quarter finals with a 3–2 win-loss record, but gold medallists United States put the Boomers away late in the game, ending their run with a seventh-place finish again.

Following the London Olympics, Brett Brown announced his decision to step down as Boomers head coach, citing his desire to spend more time with his family in the United States. As of December 2012, Basketball Australia was yet to announce his replacement, although one of his assistants, dual National Basketball League championship winning coach with the New Zealand Breakers, Andrej Lemanis, was one of the favourites to win the job.[5]

On the 24 April 2013, Lemanis was announced as the new head coach of the Boomers.[6][7][8]

By virtue of winning the 2013 FIBA Oceania Championship, Australia qualified for the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup in Spain. Australia was drawn into Group D, alongside Lithuania, Slovenia, Angola, Mexico and South Korea. After suffering an opening round 90-80 loss to Slovenia, Australia bounced back, stringing together three consecutive wins over South Korea, Lithuania and Mexico, the first time in 16 years that Australia had won 3 consecutive matches at the FIBA World Cup.[9][10] However, in their next match Australia suffered a 91–83 loss to Angola, which came despite leading by 15 points in the middle of the third quarter. This result, combined with Lithuania's 67-64 win over Slovenia, meant that Australia finished third in their group, qualifying for the knockout stage of the tournament.

Australia's top-five NBA draft picks

Because Australia would finish third by losing, and that finishing third would benefit Australia more than finishing second, combined with the absences of fit key players Aron Baynes and Joe Ingles led to allegations that Australia deliberately lost their game against Angola in order to finish third in their group, and as a result, avoid the United States until the semi-finals, with Slovenian basketballer Goran Dragić posting "Basketball is a beautiful sport, there is no room for fixing the game like today Australia vs Angola!! @FIBA should do something about that!" on Twitter. However, these claims were denied by Boomers coach Andrej Lemanis.[11][12][13][14][15][16][17] On 26 November 2014, Australia was cleared of tanking by FIBA.[18][19][20][21]

Australia met World No. 7 Turkey in the knockout stage of the tournament. Australia suffered a 65-64 loss to Turkey, ending their World Cup campaign, meaning that for the 11th World Cup, Australia would return home empty handed.

Leading into the 2016 Rio Olympics, Australia saw a surge in locals being drafted into the NBA. Along with former number 1 NBA draft pick Andrew Bogut, Dante Exum was taken with the fifth pick in the 2014 NBA draft and Ben Simmons was selected with the first pick in the 2016 NBA draft, adding to already established Australian NBA guards in Patrick Mills and Matthew Dellavedova. Forward Thon Maker was also drafted with the 10th pick in the 2016 NBA draft.

Tournament history

A red box around the year indicates tournaments played within Australia

Olympic Games

Summer Olympic Games record
Year Round Position Pld W L
Germany 1936 Did not participate
United Kingdom 1948
Finland 1952
Australia 1956 Playoff 12th 5 2 3
Italy 1960 Did not participate
Japan 1964 Playoff 9th 9 4 5
Mexico 1968 Did not participate
Germany 1972 Playoff 9th 9 5 4
Canada 1976 Quarter-finals 8th 7 2 5
Soviet Union 1980 Quarter-finals 8th 8 6 2
United States 1984 Quarter-finals 7th 8 4 4
South Korea 1988 Semi-finals 4th 8 4 4
Spain 1992 Quarter-finals 6th 8 4 4
United States 1996 Semi-finals 4th 8 5 3
Australia 2000 Semi-finals 4th 8 4 4
Greece 2004 Playoff 9th 6 2 4
China 2008 Quarterfinals 7th 6 3 3
United Kingdom 2012 Quarterfinals 7th 6 3 3
Brazil 2016 Semi-finals 4th 8 5 3
Total0 Titles14/191045351

FIBA World Cup

NB: This competition was known as the FIBA World Championship through the 2010 edition.

FIBA World Cup record
Year Round Position Pld W L
Argentina 1950 Did not participate
Brazil 1954
Chile 1959
Brazil 1963
Uruguay 1967
Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia 1970 Playoff 12th 8 1 7
Puerto Rico 1974 Playoff 12th 8 2 6
Philippines 1978 Quarter-finals 7th 10 3 7
Colombia 1982 Quarter-finals 5th 9 4 5
Spain 1986 Playoff 17th 5 2 3
Argentina 1990 Quarter-finals 7th 8 4 4
Canada 1994 Quarter-finals 5th 8 5 3
Greece 1998 Playoff 9th 11 5 6
United States 2002 Did not qualify
Japan 2006 Playoff 13th 6 2 4
Turkey 2010 Playoff 10th 6 3 3
Spain 2014 Round of 16 12th 6 3 3
China 2019 To be determined
Total0 Titles11/17853451

FIBA Oceania Championship

FIBA Oceania Championship record
Year Round Position Pld W L
New Zealand 1971 Champions 1st 3 3 0
Australia 1975 Champions 1st 3 3 0
New Zealand 1978 Champions 1st 3 2 1
Australia 1979 Champions 1st 3 3 0
New Zealand 1981 Champions 1st 2 2 0
New Zealand 1983 Champions 1st 2 2 0
Australia 1985 Champions 1st 3 3 0
New Zealand 1987 Champions 1st 3 3 0
Australia 1989 Champions 1st 2 2 0
New Zealand 1991 Champions 1st 2 2 0
New Zealand 1993 Champions 1st 3 3 0
Australia 1995 Champions 1st 3 3 0
New Zealand 1997 Champions 1st 3 3 0
New Zealand 1999 Did not participate
New Zealand 2001 Runner-up 2nd 3 1 2
Australia 2003 Champions 1st 3 3 0
New Zealand 2005 Champions 1st 3 3 0
Australia 2007 Champions 1st 3 2 1
Australia / New Zealand 2009 Runner-up 2nd 2 1 1
Australia 2011 Champions 1st 3 3 0
New Zealand / Australia 2013 Champions 1st 2 2 0
Australia / New Zealand 2015 Champions 1st 2 2 0
Total19 Titles20/2155485

FIBA Diamond Ball

FIBA Diamond Ball record
Year Round Position Pld W L
Hong Kong 2000 Champions 1st 3 3 0
Serbia and Montenegro 2004 Playoff 5th 3 1 2
China 2008 Runner-up 2nd 3 2 1
United Kingdom 2012 Cancelled
Total1 Title3/3963

FIBA Stanković Cup

FIBA Stanković Cup record
Year Round Position Pld W L
China 2005 Third place 3rd 5 3 2
China 2006 Playoff 6th 3 0 3
China 2007 Did not participate
China 2008 Did not participate
China 2009 Champions 1st 4 4 0
China 2010 Runner-up 2nd 4 3 1
China 2011 Runner-up 2nd 4 2 2
China 2012 Runner-up 2nd 4 1 3
Total1 Title5/720128

Commonwealth Games

Commonwealth Games record
Year Round Position Pld W L
Australia 2006 Champions 1st 5 5 0
Australia 2018 TBD
Total1 Title1/1550


Current roster

The following is the Australia roster in the men's basketball tournament of the 2016 Summer Olympics.[22]

Australia men's national basketball team – 2016 Summer Olympics roster
Players Coaches
Pos. # Name Age – Date of birth Ht. Club Ctr.
SG 4 Chris Goulding 27 – (1988-10-24)24 October 1988 1.92 m (6 ft 4 in) Melbourne United Australia
PG 5 Patty Mills 27 – (1988-08-11)11 August 1988 1.83 m (6 ft 0 in) San Antonio Spurs United States
F/C 6 Andrew Bogut 31 – (1984-11-28)28 November 1984 2.13 m (7 ft 0 in) Golden State Warriors United States
SF 7 Joe Ingles 28 – (1987-10-02)2 October 1987 2.03 m (6 ft 8 in) Utah Jazz United States
G 8 Matthew Dellavedova 25 – (1990-09-08)8 September 1990 1.93 m (6 ft 4 in) Milwaukee Bucks United States
G/F 9 Ryan Broekhoff 25 – (1990-08-23)23 August 1990 2.01 m (6 ft 7 in) Lokomotiv-Kuban Russia
F/C 10 Cameron Bairstow 25 – (1990-12-07)7 December 1990 2.06 m (6 ft 9 in) Brisbane Bullets Australia
G 11 Kevin Lisch 30 – (1986-05-16)16 May 1986 1.88 m (6 ft 2 in) Sydney Kings Australia
C 12 Aron Baynes 29 – (1986-12-09)9 December 1986 2.08 m (6 ft 10 in) Detroit Pistons United States
F/C 13 David Andersen (C) 36 – (1980-06-23)23 June 1980 2.11 m (6 ft 11 in) ASVEL Basket France
PF 14 Brock Motum 25 – (1990-10-16)16 October 1990 2.08 m (6 ft 10 in) Žalgiris Kaunas Lithuania
PG 15 Damian Martin 31 – (1984-09-05)5 September 1984 1.86 m (6 ft 1 in) Perth Wildcats Australia
Head coach
Assistant coach(es)
  • (C) Team captain
  • Club – describes last
    club before the tournament
  • Age – describes age
    on 6 August 2016

Depth chart

Pos. Starter Bench Bench Reserve
C Andrew Bogut David Andersen
PF Aron Baynes Cameron Bairstow Brock Motum
SF Joe Ingles Ryan Broekhoff
SG Patty Mills Kevin Lisch Chris Goulding
PG Matthew Dellavedova Damian Martin

Notable players

Head coach position



2012-15: Peak [23]


2014: Airbnb

2016: Helloworld

See also


  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 "Basketball Australia - Basketball Australia". Retrieved 11 August 2016.
  2. "Lindsay Gaze Bio, Stats, and Results". Retrieved 11 August 2016.
  3. 1987 Australian Boomers vs USSR basketball
  4. 1996 Australian Boomers vs USA Dream Team III - full game
  5. "Brett Brown has quit as coach of the Australian men's bastketball team". Retrieved 11 August 2016.
  6. "The Official Website of the SKYCITY Breakers - Together.Stronger". Archived from the original on 25 October 2014. Retrieved 11 August 2016.
  7. "Andrej Lemanis confirmed as Boomers coach". 24 April 2013. Retrieved 11 August 2016 via
  8. "NBL - The National Basketball League -". Archived from the original on 30 April 2013. Retrieved 11 August 2016.
  10. Press, Australian Associated (3 September 2014). "Australia claim third straight win at Basketball World Cup against Mexico". Retrieved 11 August 2016 via The Guardian.
  12. Media, Australian Community Media - Fairfax (5 September 2014). "Boomers deny 'tank' accusation". Retrieved 11 August 2016.
  14. Barton, Joe. "Boomers deny tanking after loss to Angola at world championships". Retrieved 11 August 2016.
  15. Press, Australian Associated (4 September 2014). "Australia's Boomers deny 'tanking' at Basketball World Cup". Retrieved 11 August 2016 via The Guardian.
  17. "Boomers' loss to Angola: 'Tournament strategy' or 'un-Australian'?". 4 September 2014. Retrieved 11 August 2016.
  18. "Boomers cleared of tanking by FIBA". 26 November 2014. Retrieved 11 August 2016.
  21. "FIBA clears Aussies of tanking at World Cup". Retrieved 11 August 2016.
  22. "Basketball men believe they can win first medal at Rio Olympics". Australian Olympic Committee. Retrieved 11 July 2016.
  23. PR N°40 - Boomers hold off Kiwis, book ticket to Rio,, Retrieved 30 December 2015.

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