Former Penrith Panthers basketball player Angus Brandt is part of the 12-man Australian Boomers team that won its first match in the FIBA [International Basketball Federation] Asia Cup this week.
The results from the Cup, being played in Lebanon, will decide which countries get the most favourable draw for the World Cup qualifiers for 2019.
“I played in the Sino Challenge (against China) in 2013 but those were exhibition games,” the 27-year-old said.
“It’s always an honour to play for your country, but the Asia Cup carries some real weight to it, because they will help decide which countries make the World Cup. It’s going to be tough, but we’re going in there trying to win it”.
The selection process to make the Boomers team was rigorous.
“It was initially an extended squad, before that was cut down to 20, and then 12, which is the final team,” Brandt said.
The selection is a reward for Brandt’s persistence, as he narrowly missed the cut for past Boomer teams in recent years.
“I always had a little chip on my shoulder and tried to work really hard, as growing up I didn’t always get selected in rep teams,” he said.
The Boomers flew out to Beirut on August 2 for their first ever Asia Cup campaign, walking away 84-68 victors against Japan on Tuesday, August 8.
They are due to play their second match against Hong Kong tonight (Thursday, August 10 at 2300 AEST) and will then face Chinese Taipei on Saturday night.
Brandt is coming off a strong season for the Perth Wildcats, as he was instrumental in helping the team win the NBL championship last season.
Brandt has been signed for two more seasons with the Wildcats.
“In the off-season I try to come back to the Mountains because my parents still live up in Lawson, and I sometimes get some shots at … Penrith during that downtime,” he said.
In the off-season I try to come back to the Mountains because my parents still live up in Lawson, and I sometimes get some shots at ... Penrith during that downtime.Angus Brandt