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Gaze tips Aussie men to contend for medal

22 July 2016

BASKETBALL: Five-time Olympian Andrew Gaze says the Australian basketball team have plenty of talent but will need some breaks to win a long-sought first Games medal in Rio.

High-scoring shooting guard Gaze was a member of the best-performed men's Olympic basketball teams which finished fourth in 1988, 1996 and 2000.

In those tournaments they were beaten for the bronze medal by the United States, Lithuania and France respectively.

They haven't done so well in more recent Olympics, finishing ninth in 2004 and seventh at the last two Games.

About to embark upon his first season as an NBL coach with the Sydney Kings, Gaze will head to Rio shortly to do basketball television commentary at the Games.

Gaze feels Australia should have high hopes for the 2016 team, even though a question mark remains over the fitness of key big man Andrew Bogut.

The squad includes other current NBA players Patty Mills, Matthew Dellavedova, Joe Ingles and Aron Baynes plus others with NBA experience in David Andersen and Cameron Bairstow.

"You only have to look at our talent," Gaze told AAP on Thursday.

"We've got five or six guys in the NBA, other guys playing in the highest level in Europe, guys playing here in the NBL at a very high level, so we have enormous talent.

"I think we're at a stage, not just for this Olympics, but probably the last two or three and beyond, even going back to 1988 where we did play off for a medal.

"Ever since then we've been in a situation where I don't think the rest of the world would have been surprised if then we had have won (a medal).

"We might have needed a few things to go to our way to win a medal, but it wouldn't have been like 'well this is just something extraordinary.'

"We've got enough talent and have had enough talent over the last 20 years to where we can compete at that level.

"Sure we need some breaks. We're not that talented that we don't need things to go our way.

"But we're at a stage now that if we play well and the bounce of the ball goes our way, it's not inconceivable for us to win a medal."


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