“You hear Sam speaking and he’s referring to Delly, not the trainer,” Goorjian said with a smile.
“It’s different than the NBL. He’s a coach within the group and I haven’t experienced that in my time with this national team when you talk about the leadership group and its power.
“I learned very quickly to get into this thing [before Tokyo] to shut up, step back and let her control it.
“I said to Delly your job is to make sure these guys are ready to play. That’s your job because I can’t do what you do. I focus on practicing and I don’t care about that aspect because they care about it.”
What pleased Goorjian was that team captain Dellavedova had plenty of help from the likes of Mitch McCarron, Jack White and Thon Maker and that a very inexperienced group came together quicker than expected.
Froling played for Australia as a minor but that window with the Boomers left him wanting more.
“There is nothing comparable to this culture, you can’t put it into words,” said Fröling.
“The foundation that guys like Delly and Joe have laid over the last ten years to come here and see what it’s like – hopefully I’ll get more opportunities to continue playing green and gold in the future.
“But right now we’re just concentrating on winning the next game.”
The Boomers withstood a physical barrage from China on Sunday night before racing to victory, earning six of six wins in the first round of FIBA World Cup qualifiers.
The Boomers defeated China 71-48 in front of a crowd of 9,043, the largest basketball crowd in Melbourne since the COVID-19 pandemic.
Last season, Dellavevoa, White and McCarron all three scored before Delladevoa threw an alley-oop pass for Maker to slam the ball home and effectively dashed China’s hopes of victory.
White led the Boomers with 16 points and 14 rebounds while Maker and Dellavedova had 13 points each.
“You can hardly do that to anyone in international basketball,” said Dellavedova. “The boys dug in and made sure we played well.”
Both teams will advance to the second round along with Japan, and the teams will carry their wins with them, keeping the Boomers in the best position to make it to next year’s World Cup.
China beat the Boomers all they could in the opening period, bringing a physical style of play that continued to score few goals.
But China’s coach Du Feng went too far with his protests and received a technical foul after he was shown to have pointed at one of the referees.
China led 18-16 at quarter-time and extended that lead to 23-16 early in the second season, before the pickup of Will McDowell-White ignited the home side as he found Maker for a basket and Maker followed with a three-pointer than the Boomers led 30-29 at halftime.
The Boomers struggled with their outside shooting until McDowell-White caught fire and nailed two straight threes as the two teams tied 45-45 before last semester.
The Boomers’ 12-0 run early last season, cut short by Dellavedova’s alley-oop pass to Maker, put the home side ahead and won last season 26-3.
St Mary’s guard Alex Ducas made his Boomers debut after coming on for Jack McVeigh (shoulder), who is expected to take a few weeks to recover after his shoulder popped out in Friday’s win against Japan.
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