Mitch Creek has withdrawn from ‘s Commonwealth Games basketball squad.The lure of Commonwealth Games gold was not enough to convince Mitch Creek to ditch personal ambitions.
The Adelaide 36ers star was the biggest of a spate of Games-eve withdrawals for ‘s men’s basketball team, ditching the Boomers to instead take up a short-term deal with German club Gottingen.
“It’s a tough decision to make to miss out on the Commonwealth Games,” Creek told the 36ers website.
“That was something that was a dream of mine to partake in, but I’m still extremely excited and a little bit nervous of what to expect (at Gottingen).”
His Adelaide teammate and fellow Boomers starter Matt Hodgson also won’t take part in the Games, with the centre set to undergo knee surgery.
Hodgson’s original replacement, Melbourne veteran David Andersen, was also ruled out after sustaining a calf injury in last Saturday’s NBL title-clinching win over Adelaide.
Perth’s Lucas Walker has now been called into the Boomers set-up, with lllawarra point guard Mitch Norton coming in to replace Creek.
It caps quite the rise for Walker, who couldn’t even secure a start with an NBL club a year ago.
With Walker coming in, the Boomers have been left with just one true centre in their 12-man squad in his Wildcats teammate, Angus Brandt.
But the absence of Creek is likely to have a bigger impact on coach Andrej Lemanis’ plans, given he had been the standout performer during ‘s World Cup qualifying campaign.
He led the Boomers in points and rebounds over the opening four games of qualifying, and despite losing the NBL grand final decider, Creek impressed with 15 points and 10 rebounds for the 36ers.
Creek has made no secret of his desire to make the leap from the NBL to the NBA.
A short-term deal in Europe should aid his cause, and he’ll have every chance to impress as he attempts to lift Gottingen out of the relegation battle.
While Norton is Creek’s direct replacement in the Boomers squad, it is the likes of Daniel Kickert, Chris Goulding, Cameron Gliddon and Nathan Sobey who Lemanis will turn to at the Games in a bid to fill the scoring void.
After missing ‘s past two qualifying matches due to injury, Goulding returns to the green and gold in red-hot form, having been named player of the series in the NBL grand final.