Jonah Bolden takes on Canada in Perth. Picture: Stefan Gosatti/Getty Images
Jonah Bolden takes on Canada in Perth. Picture: Stefan Gosatti/Getty Images

NBA star warned over Boomers snub

BOOMERS legend Chris Anstey says Jonah Bolden may regret walking out on Australia on the eve of the World Cup, saying no one is bigger than the team's selfless culture.

The Australian basketball community was shocked when Bolden cited "personal reasons" for withdrawing from the Boomers' squad, only hours after starring in an exhibition win over Canada in Perth last Saturday.

The Philadelphia 76ers power forward has remained silent on his departure but multiple sources have confirmed to The Daily Telegraph that he was frustrated with his position in the team.

Anstey, who represented the Boomers at the 2000 and 2008 Olympics and the 1998 World Championships, believes Bolden could struggle to get back into the Australian team.

 

Jonah Bolden quit the Boomers’ World Cup squad. Picture: Mark Kolbe/Getty Images
Jonah Bolden quit the Boomers’ World Cup squad. Picture: Mark Kolbe/Getty Images

 

"It's disappointing," Anstey said.

"The irony now is that he has played his cards.

"It was different with Thon Maker and Ryan Broekhoff. They stated their intentions early and there were reasons for that.

"But who knows, it might be tricky for him to get back into the team.

"You never know what you miss out on when you make a choice like that."

Bolden played 11 minutes and scored two points in Australia's opening 90-70 loss to Canada last Friday, before starring the next night with 12 points in 18 minutes and wowed the Perth crowd with his athleticism in an 81-73 win

 

Australian basketball legend Chris Anstey. Picture: Alan Barber
Australian basketball legend Chris Anstey. Picture: Alan Barber

 

Despite his standout performance, the son of NBL legend Bruce Bolden still wasn't happy with his standing in the Boomers team as the fifth big in the pecking order behind the likes of European-based Jock Landale, who impressed in a starting role against Canada.

"It would have been his first time playing and I think he would have been surprised by how much he would have learnt through being a part of an international preparation," Anstey said

"That would have benefited his career.

"With any player it is your own responsibility to earn the minutes they get and not be handed them.

"It is disappointing that he committed to the group and pulled out based on what he perceived his reduced role to be instead of just getting to work and supporting the boys and increasing his role through his performance."

 

Jonah Bolden (centre) and Jock Landale (right) talk with Boomers assistant coach Luc Longley during a training session in Perth. Picture: AAP/Richard Wainwright
Jonah Bolden (centre) and Jock Landale (right) talk with Boomers assistant coach Luc Longley during a training session in Perth. Picture: AAP/Richard Wainwright

 

Bolden's decision to pull out of the Australian team has polarised fans.

While some have criticised the 23-year-old, others believe the 76ers power forward deserved more game time and the coaching staff should have accommodated his wishes.

Bolden has three years left on his contract with Philadelphia, although the final two seasons are not guaranteed, meaning there will be pressure to impress his team bosses.

However, Anstey says individual goals often come second in the Boomers' team-first culture.

"The best Aussie players aren't the ones in the NBA necessarily," he said.

"To be in the NBA you need to be the best at something.

"Jonah is an incredibly good athlete. He has an NBA body but one thing I've seen and I've been a part of it, is that there is a difference in the way that you manage the egos of NBA players.

"I'm not saying that ego is a bad thing. Every player needs to have a certain level of ego about themselves and a bit of selfishness in their preparation.

"But it has to be put to the side when you represent your country.

 

Jonah Bolden in action for the Philadelphia 76ers. Picture: Getty Images
Jonah Bolden in action for the Philadelphia 76ers. Picture: Getty Images

 

"I'm not sure how the conversations went but especially having Luc Longley on board, you could imagine.

"Even with the group of guys around him, it makes it even more surprising that he chose to pull out."

The Boomers' roster is yet to be finalised for the World Cup in China, starting on September 1.

Coach Andrej Lemanis is using exhibition games against Canada and Team USA to finalise his team for the Cup.

It is understood senior Boomers players are extremely disappointed with Bolden's stance.

Bolden is yet to publicly comment on the issue but he recently liked a tweet regarding the Boomers' team selections.

News Corp Australia


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