MELBOURNE, Australia -- The Boomers will be out to make amends for their heartbreaking Rio Olympics campaign when they travel to China in September for the FIBA World Cup, says Chris Goulding.
Australia was seen as a genuine medal chance in Brazil after giving raging favourites the United States a scare in their opening group game. However, the Boomers fell short to Serbia in the semifinals before then going down to Spain 89-88 in the bronze medal game, leaving Australia still searching for its first Olympic medal in men's basketball.
Goulding, who was involved in that campaign and also selected alongside nine NBA players in Australia's star-studded World Cup squad last week, says it's something that's still playing on the mind of many in the team.
"We obviously came up short in Rio and we want to try and make amends for that," Goulding told ESPN. "There's been no misconceptions about what the goals of this group are over the last few years and that's to bring home a medal at the World Cup.
"The goal is to bring home a gold coloured one and it's realistic if we play our best basketball. That would be huge for Australia and Australian basketball."
Australia's medal chances at the upcoming World Cup have been bolstered enormously by the inclusion of Philadelphia 76ers star point guard Ben Simmons.
For months it was unclear whether or not the 2018 NBA Rookie of the Year would join the camp, but after talks with fellow Boomer Patty Mills and head coach Andrej Lemanis, the 22-year-old committed himself to the cause.
"It's a good opportunity to get Ben back into the mix," Goulding told ESPN. "He's obviously a global superstar now at this early age of his career and it's going to be a lot of fun to get him on board and assimilate him with the group.
"I'm sure he's going to be a massive part of the success in China at the World Cup. Everyone is excited to have him."
Ahead of the World Cup, the Boomers will play four highly-anticipated warm-up games, two against Canada at Perth's RAC Arena and another two against the United States at Marvel Stadium in Melbourne.
The squad will then be whittled down to a final 12 before the team jets off to China in late August.
"There's going to be some really good basketball being played [during] the camp," Goulding said. "It's going to be tough for a few spots."