Likely number one overall selection Kyrie Irving says he wasn’t to represent Australia. Born in Melbourne, Kyrie spent his first two years growing up down under.
Irving, whose father Drederick played fro the Bullen Boomers in the NBL in the ’90s, holds dual Australian and American citizenship.
Realising the unlikelihood that he will ever represent the US at the highest level, Irving has instead expressed interest in donning the green and gold for the upcoming Olympics.
Irving would become the team’s second best player behind Bucks center Andrew Bogut.
The combination of Bogut and Irving with fellow NBA players David Anderson and Patrick Mills may be enough to see Australia’s chances in the tournament rise significantly.
Speculation earlier this year had Irving firmly aiming to play USA basketball, but there is little chance he will be given that opportunity, considering the wealth of young PG skill in the USA. NBA PG’s Chris Paul, Deron Williams, Derrick Rose, Rajon Rondo, John Wall, Stephen Curry and Russel Westbrook are all considered stronger talents than the Melbourne born Irving.
Although FIBA rules say that once a player chooses to represent a country after their 17th birthday they cannot change, there are certainly exceptions. If authorised by the FIBA secretary general on the proviso that it “is in the interest of development of basketball in the country” a player may indeed switch teams.
Piston PF Charlie Villanueva is one such example. After representing the US at junior level he was bale to represent the Domican Repubklic.
Even he is cleared to play for the Boomers this year it is unlikely he will join the squad immediately, considering an impending lockout leaves him unsigned and without NBA health insurance.
The Boomers will compete against New Zealand in a three-game series this spring, although the young Aussies on the squad will likely be without all of their NBA teammates.
The Australian squad will have training camp next week before playing a two-match series against China later this month.