Hughan: Creek a versatile addition
Wimmera basketball guru Owen Hughan believes star Horsham export Mitch Creek is a chance to earn a medal with Australia at the upcoming FIBA Basketball World Cup.
Creek was controversially left out of Australia’s 12-man world cup team last week, but an injury to Xavier Cooks opened the door for head coach Andrej Lemanis to pick Creek as a replacement.
Creek has played for Australia in two Perth exhibition games against Canada and will play a further two games against the United States in Melbourne tomorrow and Saturday before the world cup starts on August 31.
Creek played only six minutes off the bench in Australia’s first-up 90-70 loss to Canada on Friday, but earned nearly 15 minutes in a follow-up 81-73 win on Saturday.
He scored five points, hitting one three-pointer, in the win.
Hughan said he had been surprised Creek was initially left out of the team but was sure he would make the most of a fresh opportunity.
Despite NBA All Star Ben Simmons pulling out of the Australian team and the Boomers’ lacklustre results in its warm-up games against Canada, Hughan said the team remained a chance to earn its first medal at a major international tournament.
“I think Australia will go very well,” he said. “In other years, even though we had NBA players on the team, they were all role players.
“This time around they’ve got blokes like Joe Ingles who are starters. These are the players who set the tone of the game, and the others come in and support.”
Hughan said he believed the Horsham product would add versatility off the bench.
“I don’t know what Lemanis’ reasoning was for why he picked him, but I think he would be used as a swing player in different situations,” he said.
“Looking at that team, I think personally the guards are too small and you’ve only really got three of them. Mitch gives you a different look.
“He’s not your typical three-man because generally a three-man is someone banging the ball from the outside as more of a shooter.
“He can hit the outside ball, but the strength of Mitch’s game is his strength and quickness, and he can get to the hoop.”
Hughan said he believed Creek was initially overlooked because of Lemanis’ desire to fill the team with shooters.
“How many shooters do you need team?” he said.
“You don’t need that many people playing one role.
“If you’ve got a lot of players with the same skillset, there’s no versatility.” in a