Aussie Jack White became a fan favorite in Cameron when he played for Duke, but he was not a likely NBA player so we really don’t see a lot of him now since he’s playing in Australia.
However, that may change.
The Australian National Team, aka the Boomers, is involved in a regional World Cup qualifying tournament and is likely to win it (currently they’re 4-0 with Japan and China left).
As we’ve noted before, the quality of international play is greatly improved, at least partly because so many Internationals are making it to the NBA.
The Boomers, for instance, could have Matthew Dellavedova, Thon Maker, Mattise Thybull, Dyston Daniels, Dante Exum and, conceivably if he ever gets around to playing again, Ben Simmons. White is still emerging, with his coach saying this: “...Jack White is just emerging. When I walked into camp I knew he was a very good player … but he is better than I thought. Around the culture we are trying to build, he is very, very special.”
It’s not that they’re all NBA-level players - some were, a few are (White is also off to play summer league ball in the US as are, we think, some of his Boomer teammates) but if you put that team in the NBA it’d be in trouble.
However, they do have talent, and they seem to recognize that they could break through. The Aussies won bronze in the last Olympics and knocked off the US a couple of times as well, although not in critical games.
Still, they are dangerous. And pay attention to what Maker says here, because this, really, is the difference for international teams when it comes to competing with, and beating, the US in basketball: “The ball movement is probably what I have missed the most. Being an overseas athlete and playing in America for a while, you kind of forget how beautiful it is to move the ball. I take pride in moving the ball.”
As he should and good for him for grasping the essence of the game.
Team USA will always be highly athletic and can win by pressing on defense and running, but the other countries are far, far ahead of us when it comes to passing and moving the ball. Maker, here, may prove to be prophetic.
Obviously we’ll pull for the US, but if we don’t get gold, we’d be fine with White and his Aussie teammates getting it. They play beautiful basketball.