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AUS - Hard-working Jawai earns place in Boomers squad

Nathan Jawai (AUS)
Nathan Jawai (Aus) - Galatasaray (Euroleague)

CANBERRA (FIBA Basketball World Cup) - Nathan Jawai has battled back from a season-ending neck injury and thrust himself into contention for a place in Australia's FIBA Basketball World Cup squad.

The big man, who spent the past six months in Canberra working out after getting hurt in Turkey while playing for Galatasaray, is in the 17-man group that coach Andrej Lemanis has named for the Boomers' upcoming training camp.

The group will gather in Canberra at the Basketball Australia National Centre of Excellence (CoE) from 23-29 July.

Lemanis and his coaching staff will name the final 12-man team prior to the conclusion of camp.

From there, the team will depart for Europe on a three-week pre-World Cup tour playing games across the continent in preparation for the World Cup.

Lemanis can't say enough good things about Jawai, who once played for the Toronto Raptors and has also featured for Barcelona, Partizan Belgrade and Unics Kazan in Europe.

"I have been very impressed with Nate's commitment to be part of the national team," the coach said.

"He has put in a lot of work over the past six months.

"He moved to Canberra, has been working out six days a week doing both on court and off court sessions, to give himself this opportunity."

Jawai is just one of the big men in the Australia squad, with San Antonio Spurs NBA champion Aron Baynes another.

Players who impressed Lemanis during the recent Sino-Australia Challenge to claim spots in the team are Melbourne United's Lucas Walker and Sydney Kings' close-season signing Angus Brandt.

Walker, 29, is a 2.02m forward while the 2.08m Brandt is a center.

"Both Angus and Lucas showed that they have some skills to offer in the Boomer environment that is deserving of an opportunity at the next camp," Lemanis said.

Several players in the preliminary squad are right now in Las Vegas taking part in the NBA Summer League.

They are: Dante Exum (Utah Jazz), Cameron Bairstow (Chicago Bulls), Matthew Dellavedova (Cleveland Cavaliers) and NBA hopefuls Chris Goulding and Brock Motum.

The Boomers are going to have to recover from the loss of Pat Mills, who needed a shoulder operation last month after helping San Antonio win the NBA title.

"We have a good mix of experience and youth and I'm looking forward to seeing it all come together," Lemanis said.

"I know that all of us still feel disappointed for Patty (Mills) and wish him all the best in his recovery - but as a group, there is still belief and confidence that we will perform well at the World Cup.

"I know we will have a team that plays the right way - where teammates will support each other and play for one another - it is the Australian way.

"It is always an honor to represent your country - we are all looking forward to the journey ahead."

Australia will play in Group D at the World Cup, in Gran Canaria, against Mexico, Angola, Korea, Lithuania and Slovenia.

Australia preliminary squad for FIBA Basketball World Cup: David Andersen, Cameron Bairstow, Aron Baynes, Angus Brandt, Ryan Broekhoff, Matthew Dellavedova, Dante Exum, Adam Gibson, Chris Goulding, Joe Ingles, Nathan Jawaii, Damian Martin, Brock Martin, Brad Newley, Ben Simmons, Lucas Walker and Mark Worthington.