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    Mitch Creek at Horsham Basketball Stadium on Wednesday with former coach Owen Hughan.

Mitch Creek still a Boomers chance

By Colin MacGillivray

UPDATE: Horsham's Mitch Creek could still play for Australia at the upcoming FIBA Basketball World Cup after missing out on selection in the initial squad.

On Wednesday it emerged swingman Xavier Cooks is set to miss the world cup with a meniscus tear, opening the door for another player to replace him in the 12-man team.

Creek's omission from the side was seen as controversial by Australian basketball media commentators and the Wimmera star should be one of the frontrunners to replace Cooks given he plays the same position and impressed coaches at a team selection camp.

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EARLIER: 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.

The entire August 14, 2019 edition of The Weekly Advertiser is available online. READ IT HERE!