Creek hope for Olympic team

The Weekly Advertiser Horsham - - Sport - BY COLIN MACGILLIVR­AY

Hor­sham bas­ket­ball coach Owen Hughan says home­grown star Mitch Creek re­mains a chance to break into the Aus­tralian team be­fore next year’s Olympics de­spite be­ing over­looked for the coun­try’s world cup squad.

Creek was con­tro­ver­sially omit­ted from the 12-man Aus­tralian Boomers squad for the up­com­ing FIBA Bas­ket­ball World Cup last week de­spite many con­sid­er­ing him a shoo-in.

He is com­ing off the best sea­son of his ca­reer, hav­ing played for the Brook­lyn Nets and Min­nesota Tim­ber­wolves of Amer­ica’s Na­tional Bas­ket­ball As­so­ci­a­tion.

How­ever, he and fel­low Aus­tralian NBA player Deng Adel were passed over in favour of play­ers from Aus­tralia’s do­mes­tic Na­tional Bas­ket­ball League com­pe­ti­tion.

Brock Mo­tum, who played for the Boomers at the 2016 Rio Olympics, was also over­looked.

In their stead, play­ers Cameron Glid­don and Nathan Sobey – both of whom play for Aus­tralian head coach An­drej Le­ma­nis at NBL club Bris­bane – were picked.

Sev­eral me­dia com­men­ta­tors ex­pressed sur­prise that Creek was not picked for the team, but Hughan said it could prove a ‘bless­ing in dis­guise’.

“If there

are play­ers who don’t per­form dur­ing the world cup, there could be some spots that open up be­fore the Olympics,” he said.

“That, in re­al­ity, is a far more pres­ti­gious com­pe­ti­tion.”

Hughan ad­mit­ted he was sur­prised Creek was not picked for the team, but said se­lec­tion con­tro­ver­sies were al­ways a part of any sport.

“From some of my friends who I’ve talked to in Mel­bourne, they all think he should’ve made it,” he said.

“I think, ‘maybe I’m bi­ased’, but from what I’ve heard from other peo­ple, they reckon the same thing.”

Hughan said Creek had han­dled the sit­u­a­tion with typ­i­cal good grace.

“He’s got a great at­ti­tude and when he wasn’t picked, he said, ‘all the best guys’. He’s a very classy ac­tor,” he said.

Creek posted on so­cial me­dia fol­low­ing the an­nounce­ment of the team.

“Con­grats and a huge good luck to the fel­las se­lected,” he said.

“Proud to have been in­vited to camp and I’m sure this group of men will take care of busi­ness and put on a show in China at the world cup.”

Aus­tralia will play warm-up ex­hi­bi­tion games against the United States in Mel­bourne on Au­gust 22 and 24 be­fore the world cup starts on Au­gust 31.

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