1sts Premiership Player Gerard Martin is returning home from Lithuania with a Silver Medal from the U17 Basketball World Championships.
The Australian U17 team had a tough pool that included USA, China, Czech Republic, Egypt and France. Gerard and his team were successful in winning all but one of the pool games, going down to the eventual World Champions, USA. Throughout the pool games, 6’5’’ Combo Guard, Gerard Martin, provided a lively spark off the bench, providing defensive leadership and a perimeter offensive game. Gerard’s highlights in the pool games included 8 points and 7 steals against France.
Moving into the finals fixtures, Australia was facing a tough Argentinian team in the quarterfinals. Gerard nailed two massive three pointers down the stretch, whilst also collecting 4 rebounds and 2 steals in ten minutes of play.
In the semi finals, Australia competed against a tournament favourite Croatia, who was undefeated moving into the elimination rounds. The Australian perimeter game outmatched a classy Croatian team, Gerard added 6 points and 2 steals in 12 minutes of play.
Facing the USA at any stage, in any basketball tournament, is the toughest challenge in world basketball. The USA U17 team from 2010 now boasts five NBA draftee’s, who were all drafted in the top 15 picks in the 2012 NBA draft. The 2012 USA U17 team, was undefeated throughout the tournament, with an average winning margin of 30 points and an average scoring rate of 100 points per game. Gerard and his team competed well, however the USA simply out muscled the boys from down under.
The selection and training process for the U17 Australian team was an 18 month campaign. The Australian team qualified for the World Championships, by winning the FIBA Oceania Championship against New Zealand in 2011. 1sts Premierships Player Jonathan (Obi) Mbakwe was a member of the winning Oceania Australian U17 team.