2011 World Championships
The Australian U19 National team, The Emus will have to finish third among the likes of Argentina, Chinese Taipei and Latvia in Pool B if they are to advance to the second round of the Under 19 World Championship they discovered Thursday, after the draw for the tournament was announced in Riga, Latvia.
Sixteen teams from FIBA's five continents were placed in four pools for the preliminary phase of the World Championship, which will be played from June 30 to July 10 in Latvia this year.
Only the top three teams from the preliminary pool will advance to the second phase of the competition so the Emus will be looking for at least one win, however they will be mindful that results against opponents in the preliminary round carry into the next round, and therefore they will be looking for as many wins as possible.
Emu's head coach Damien Cotter was pleased with the result but said that there are plenty of unknowns going into the tournament, and for them, it is all about scouting from now on.
"You always hold your breath and see what comes up and what you're going to get. For us, while it's not a walk in the park, it certainly could be much worse," he said. "We'll start studying the relevant opponents now.
"Events at recent Championships indicate that the home team enjoys the tremendous advantage of local supporters – the 2010 FIBA Women’s World Championships is a prime example – so while Latvia has not been on the Australian radar, they will be considering this team as one of the great unknowns in the group.
"The Latvians will be good; it'll be on their home court and it'll be a great challenge for our kids," said Cotter. "I'm sure they will be very tough opponents, and the Argentinians are always tough and having been involved in games against the Argentinians, our team can expect a very physical affair.
"Success in the preliminary rounds will see the Emus face the best three teams from the very tough group A, made up of Brazil, Poland, Russia and Tunisia.
Current gold medallists in this age group, the USA, have been drawn in Group D, something that will no doubt please the Australian coaching staff as this assures that a meeting with the perennial powerhouse of world basketball will not occur until deep in the Championship.
The Emus have two more camps before they head off on what will be a phenomenal experience, with a great opportunity for World Championship success.
"The kids are very excited. Reality has dawned upon them about what they have an opportunity to do and to represent your country in a World Championship in any form is a tremendous honour," said Cotter.