Mitch Creek is determined to fight his way back into the Boomers squad ahead of the Paris Olympics as he attempts to steer South East Melbourne Phoenix to a maiden NBL championship.
Creek is bullish on the Phoenix’s title chances this season, declaring the new-look line-up has the potential to be a “very, very good team” under fresh coach Mike Kelly.
In the background, the flame of a Boomers recall still flickers.
Creek missed out on selection for the recent Basketball World Cup, which ended in disaster for Brian Goorjian’s Australia as they missed the quarter-finals.
The 31-year-old swingman, who played for the Boomers at the 2019 World Cup, hasn’t lost any passion for representing his country.
“Playing for Australia is still the No.1 thing for every young boy and girl … and it’s still on my board of what I’d like to participate in at some point again,” Creek told reporters on Wednesday.
“I’ll continue to be the best version of myself and … keep working at basketball.
“If I get selected then fantastic, but if not then I’ll still support and watch all the games and enjoy seeing some of these extremely talented young men go out there and perform and put (Australia) on their shoulders.”
After claiming bronze at the Tokyo Olympics, the Boomers finished 10th at the World Cup despite having a record nine NBA players on their roster.
Group-stage losses to Slovenia and eventual champions Germany ruled them out of medal contention.
“I feel for the Boomers, there’s been a lot of backlash for the entire team,” Creek said.
“It’s never good to see a team not get the result they’ve all put so much time and effort into.”
While Boomers selection remains a driver, Creek’s immediate focus is on South East Melbourne’s title quest after last season’s finals play-in tournament defeat to the Perth Wildcats.
The Phoenix are entering their fifth season in the NBL, which will be their first under Kelly, having parted ways with inaugural coach Simon Mitchell.
“(Boomers selection) is a part of it, but at the same time I’ve got more important things to worry about 24/7 than whether I’m going to be picked for a team that’s 12 months away,” Creek said.
“I’ve got to focus on today and what this team needs of me and what these coaches and staff need from me to be the best organisation that we can be.”