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Anstey says Boomers need Games X-factor

1 June 2012

Two-time basketball Olympian Chris Anstey has called for Boomers coach Brett Brown to take some selection risks when he names his final 12-man squad for London.

Brown has indicated he will steer a steady course, with no left-field selections when the final Olympic squad is named prior to the upcoming three-match series against Greece in Victoria next month.

But Anstey says Brown needs to consider an X-factor for London - similar to Brian Goorjian's decision to take a teenage Andrew Bogut to Athens in 2004.

Anstey believes it could provide a different set of tools to unlock rival teams in a fiercely contested battle just to get out of the group stages.

"Realistically most coaches only play eight or nine players in Olympic tournaments," said Anstey, now NBL club Melbourne Tigers' director of basketball.

"I think what you need in those 10, 11 and 12 spots is someone who's a bit different, someone who can give you a different look as a team if things aren't going well with your starting group.

"If you replace same with same when you go to your bench, you get more of what you've got when you were struggling.

"You definitely want the ability to get different looks within the group. If you do that, it makes you more dangerous."

With Bogut out of the Games through injury, it does open up at least one spot for a wildcard should Brown decide to go down that path.

And the possible absence of Patty Mills on NBA finals duty for the training camps prior to the Greece series means more opportunities for point guards to impress and earn a spot in the final 12.

US college player Matthew Dellavedova, a highly-rated 21-year-old Victorian, could be among the beneficiaries.

Anstey has also given Australian women's team guard Sam Richards a ringing endorsement ahead of the upcoming Opals tour of Europe.

With the Opals' backcourt options for London still undecided, Anstey said: "I think she is the best point guard in this country.

"She has the ability to get the right girl shots at the right time."

Meanwhile, injury has forced Adelaide 36ers duo Daniel Johnson and Mitch Creek to withdraw from the Boomers squad for next week's pre-Olympics training camp in Perth.

Johnson has an ankle injury and Creek back pain.

AAP

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Matthew Dellavedova
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