Pac-12 men's basketball all-star team descends on Australia
MELBOURNE, Australia – The Pac-12 Men’s Basketball All-Star Team has descended on Australia to begin its exhibition tour of Melbourne.
Following three days of practices and activities in Los Angeles, the 12-man all-star squad completed its flight across the world Friday passing by the International Dateline and arriving on Saturday morning in Melbourne. The group will spend Saturday adjusting to the time difference and going over final preparations for its three-game exhibition tour that begins with a Sunday contest against a team from the South East Australian Basketball League. Highlighting the exhibition schedule is a pair of games against the Australian Men’s National Team (The Boomers) at Hisense Arena in Melbourne.
The Pac-12 All-Star Team’s games against the Australian Men’s National Team will take place this coming Tuesday, July 12 and Thursday July 14 at what is expected to be a packed house inside Hisense Arena.
All the action will be carried live on Pac-12 Networks so fans across the United States can fallow along. Play-by-play announcer Roxy Bernstein and analyst Don MacLean will have the call from Pac-12 Networks HQ. The games will air live at 2:30 a.m. PT on July 12 and July 14, with re-airs at 6 p.m. PT each day.
The trip is part of Pac-12 Global, an unprecedented effort to promote goodwill and showcase the Pac-12 and its member institutions around the world through student-athlete exchanges and sport. This tour aims to provide transformative life experiences for the 12 student-athletes, creating opportunities to connect with new people and new cultures.
Leading up to its trans-continental flight, the group enjoyed several days of activities in Southern California, bonding and building its game plan for these three exhibition contests.
After convening in Los Angeles Tuesday afternoon, the 12-man all-star squad encompassing 10 of the conference teams was introduced to another all-star group. Headed by legendary coach Mike Montgomery, the coaching staff also includes a pair of former Stanford All-Americans in Brevin Knight and Casey Jacobsen and a coaching great in Trent Johnson.
Montgomery, who will be inducted into the College Basketball Hall of Fame this November, quickly picked up his whistle after retiring two years ago following a legendary coaching career that spanned more than three decades.
“I am really excited to coach this outstanding group of players from the Pac 12,” said Montgomery. “It is a great opportunity to represent our great conference against the highest caliber competition in a great and beautiful country. It is a great challenge, one that will stretch our young players to compete and play together.”
By late afternoon on Tuesday, Montgomery’s team traveled to the nearby USC campus for its first official practice. The two-hour session began with basic drills, before his staff concentrated on certain position groups. With Coach Johnson handling the post players, Coach Knight and Coach Jacobsen worked with the guards and forwards.
Dinner out in Marina Del Rey Tuesday evening concluded with a presentation from Pac-12 senior officials and a jersey signing by each student-athlete on the first day of this 11-day adventure.
Montgomery hosted a pair of practices back on the USC campus Wednesday as the coaching staff began to install its game plan for its exhibition slate in Australia. Everyone knew one another from the previous conference season, but the group began to form a unique bond in a short time as everyone grew more familiar with one another. From highlight-reel dunks to impressive shooting displays, the team has learned to work together in a short period of time.
Thursday opened with a presentation on Pac-12 Global by Pac-12 Deputy Commissioner and Chief Operating Officer Jamie Zaninovich and Vice President for International, Carter Westfall. The group held one final practice in the United States later in the morning, before heading back to the hotel for some free time to enjoy Venice Beach and relax.
A team dinner in Marina Del Rey gave everyone a chance to enjoy a hearty meal and continue to bond before heading to Los Angeles International Airport for the late night journey to Australia.
The team knows the challenges that present themselves with the Boomers. The Australian Men’s National Team is using these games to help prepare for the Olympic Games in Brazil in a couple of weeks. Ranked No. 11 in the world, the Boomers’ National Team roster is comprised of a great deal of talent and depth. Their full Olympic roster won’t be announced until Sunday’s game, but many expect the squad to include three former Pac-12 standouts in Aron Baynes (WASHINGTON STATE), Andrew Bogut (UTAH) and Brock Motum (WASHINGTON STATE), along with current NBA players Matthew Dellavedova and Patty Mills.
The games will be played by FIBA rules with four 10-minute quarters and a 24-second shot clock.
Just one day away from the first game, there is a great deal of excitement throughout this roster. The team is ready to test themselves against some of the elite professional players around the world.
Follow Pac-12.com for comprehensive recaps of the games and insight into the team’s complete Australia experience.