‘They refer to Delly, not the coach’: Brian Goorjian sees Rose Gold Boomers influence on next generation

The “Rose Gold” Boomers from the Tokyo Olympics aren’t on the court for Australia this week but coach Brian Goorjian can feel their imprint on his inexperienced side.

Playmaker Matthew Dellavedova is the only bronze medallist suiting up for the Boomers but the NBA championship winner has imparted much of the team’s best qualities to a group that has six debutantes out of 12 players.

Dellavedova, who now plays with Melbourne United in the NBL, has been actively and vocally leading the side as they scored a gutsy win over China on Thursday night and thrashed an understrength Japanese side on Friday night.

They finish this window with a return clash against China at John Cain Arena on Sunday night and with wins carrying over to the second and final round of qualifying, the team wants to make it six wins from six games with victory on Sunday.

In the first win over China, Dellavedova was the driving force as his team fought off a comeback in the last term while he was vocal early in the Japan game before taking a back seat to NBL-based young guns like point guard Will McDowell-White and centre Sam Froling.

Following the Japan game, Froling offered an insight into Dellavedova’s leadership.

“Before the game, Delly said we had to be relentless, no backward step,” Froling said.

“For guys who are having their first experience of the Boomers or are new to this, it’s just great leadership. We followed him and took care of our business.”

Goorjian spoke before Tokyo about leaving the likes of Patty Mills, Joe Ingles, Dellavedova and Aron Baynes to motivate the team while he focused on the tactics and details.

“You listen to Sam speak and he is referring to Delly, not to the coach,” Goorjian said with a smile.

“It’s different to the NBL. He’s a coach within the group and this is something I haven’t experienced in my time with this national team when you talk about the leadership group and their power.

“I learned real quick coming into this [before Tokyo] to keep my mouth shut, step back and let them control this.

“I said to Delly, your job is to make sure these guys are ready to play. That is your job because I can’t do what you do. I focus on practice and don’t worry about that aspect as they take care of it.”

What Goorjian has been happy to see is that team captain Dellavedova has had lots of help from the likes of Mitch McCarron, Jack White and Thon Maker and it has seen a very inexperienced group come together faster than expected.

Froling has played for Australia at underage level but this window with the Boomers has left him wanting more.

“There is nothing like this culture, you can’t put it into words,” Froling said.

“The foundation that guys like Delly and Joe have set over this last decade, coming into this and seeing what it’s like – hopefully I get more opportunities to keep putting on the green and gold in the future.

“But right now we are just focused on winning this next game.”

The Boomers play China at John Cain Arena on Sunday at 6.40pm AEST.

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