NATHAN CROSSWELL with his Championship ring.
NATHAN CROSSWELL with his Championship ring.

Crosswell named in Olympic squad after NBL title

By STEVE SPINKS and AAP FORMER Ballina basketball player Nathan Crosswell has capped off a great week by being named in the preliminary Australian squad for the Beijing Olympics.

Crosswell has only just come down from celebrating his first National Basketball League title with Melbourne following the Tigers exciting 3-2 series win over the Kings, culminating in the game five victory at Sydney last Friday night.

Now the 1.9m point guard has been included in a powerful 33-man Boomers line-up.

Former Mullumbimby guard Brad Davidson - who played with the Boomers at the Commonwealth Games - missed selection.

Coincidentally, Crosswell will now come under the tutelage of Sydney Kings coach Brian Goorjian - the man he was trying to beat less than a week ago.

While Crosswell's naming in the squad is a great achievement, the eight year NBL veteran would be regarded as a long shot of making the final 12-man squad which will be submitted to the Australian Olympic Committee in early July.

CJ Bruton and Patrick Mills are expected to be the starting guards.

Young guns Mills and Andrew Ogilvy have been named in the squad from US college basketball, with nineteen-year-old Mills expected to be an important player in Beijing.

Goorjian said it was Mills' skill in the point guard role that made him a key asset.

"It's an important position for us, we've got a lot of depth in a lot of positions but that position we are a little concerned about," he said.

"So not only do I see him being a part of it I seem him being a very, very important part.

"I think he's got to take a lot of credit for us qualifying, you know, he had a huge impact on the team in the qualifying series against New Zealand.

"He's gone to America and performed great and he's also a young Aboriginal boy who's a tremendous role model."

The 33-man squad will be put through a rigorous schedule of training camps and international practice games before the final squad is named.

Meanwhile, Goorjian said he was excited by the return of NBL most valuable player Chris Anstey to the Boomers line-up after an eight year absence from major tournaments.

Anstey's versatility as a man able to battle it out inside and also hit the three-point shot was missed at the 2004 Athens Games and the world championships in 2002 and 2006.

In concert with the NBA's Andrew Bogut and Europe-based stars Matthew Nielsen, David Andersen and Luke Schenscher, the Sydney 2000 Olympian gives Goorjian an impressive array of centres and power forwards.

Boomers squad: Aron Baynes, Aaron Bruce, Adam Gibson, Aleks Maric, Alex Loughton, Andrew Bogut, Andrew Ogilvy, Brad Newley, Chris Anstey, CJ Bruton, Damien Ryan, Darnell Mee, David Andersen, David Barlow, Glen Saville, Ian Crosswhite, Jacob Holmes, James Harvey, Jason Smith, Joe Ingles, Luke Kendall, Luke Schenscher, Mark Worthington, Matthew Knight, Matthew Nielsen, Nathan Jawai, Nathan Crosswell, Pat Mills, Peter Crawford, Russell Hinder, Sam Mackinnon, Shawn Redhage, Wade Helliwell.

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