Boomers hungry for Paris after sour World Cup showing

Josh Giddey (Basketball Australia)

Melissa Woods, AAP

Fresh from checking out his new NBA home Chicago, Josh Giddey has put his Boomers hat on and says he’s eager to erase the “sour taste” left from their last tournament.

The Australians were bounced out of medal contention from the FIBA World Cup last September, finishing a disappointing 10th, but will look to make amends at the Paris Olympics which get underway next month.

Giddey said the squad was determined to return to the podium in Paris following their historic bronze medal at the last Games in Tokyo.

“We know the sour taste that the World Cup left in our mouths,” Giddey said on Friday in Melbourne.

“To finish the way it did wasn’t good for any of us so we’re very happy to be able to go to Paris now and have a chance to get up on that podium with a gold medal.

“We’ve got a great group of guys, the talent’s as good as it’s ever been in Australian basketball, so we’re excited to get to Paris.”

“The talent’s as good as it’s ever been in Australian basketball,” Josh Giddey says. (Melissa Woods)

The Boomers face China in two games next week (July 2, 4) in Melbourne before heading to Abu Dhabi to face the USA and Serbia.

Yarraville local, Giddey, 21, is one of nine NBA players in the 17-man squad which will be cut to 12 after the matches against China.

The opening ceremony in Paris takes place 10 days after the Serbia warm-up clash.

As well as Giddey, fellow NBA stars Patty Mills and Josh Green will lead the charge at the Olympics, where Australia will have the star-studded Canada – and potentially the yet-to-qualify Spain or Greece – in a tough pool.

The Australians had their first squad training in Melbourne on Friday, which Giddey described as “competitive and intense”.

“We bring the best out of each other,” said the 203cm point guard.

“It’s like that from day one – coaches and leaders set the tone from day one and guys follow so it’s an awesome environment to be in and it’s the momentum we need going into the Olympics.”

Giddey was last week traded from Oklahoma City Thunder to the Bulls, which he described as a “fresh start”.

“I got back from there yesterday and I’m very excited, I think it was good for both sides (himself and Thunder) to get a fresh start,” he said.

“I’m excited with the team that they’ve got – the city was great, the organisation, front office, coaches, the guys on the team were awesome.

“I was only there for 48 hours but it was good to get a feel for the city and the team and I know the history of that club and how far back it goes, so I’m very excited to get over there in September and get into it.”