Craig Moller’s rise through the basketball ranks is set to take another step forward later this month.
Being selected to the Emerging Boomers squad will see him represent Australia at the World University Games in Taipei. The achievement is no mean feat – one that speaks volumes of Moller’s development since crossing over from the AFL.
Representing Australia is something that every athlete dreams of, and this will be Moller’s first time suiting up in the green and gold.
“Obviously I can’t wait.” Moller said. “It will be my first time representing Australia, obviously with the AFL you can’t really do that.”
Moller is looking forward to having fellow Melbourne United player, Kyle Adnam on the team. The two will be moving into a house together soon in Melbourne, and the chance to represent Australia together will build that chemistry even further before the NBL season kicks off in October.
“I’m just really looking forward to [representing Australia] and getting to go along with Kyle as well, it should be really fun.” Moller said.
“It’s always nice to have someone you know there as well – I don’t know too many others on the team – having a familiar face will be nice.”
“I’ve never played with Kyle, but I’m in Melbourne at the moment just training and stuff like that with him.” Moller said. “We’re moving in together in about a weeks’ time, so I’ll get to know him really well.”
The tournament, which starts on August 20th, will see the Emerging Boomers play five group games in six days. With a loaded schedule and tough group opponents including Russia, the tournament is sure to put both Moller and Adnam in good stead for the upcoming NBL season.
“I think it’s going to be a really tough tournament and provide me with a really good base to go into NBL preseason and then hopefully carry some good form into the NBL regular season as well.” Moller said.
Moller, who is currently playing for the Ballarat Miners in the SEABL, has been working on his game tirelessly. Talking about the importance of SEABL, Moller explains that it allows him to play year-round basketball.
“It’s been great - just being able to continue playing.” Moller said. “I flowed straight from SEABL to NBL last year, NBL to SEABL earlier this year, and then I’ll go straight into the NBL from SEABL again this time around.”
“That constant playing is something that I really enjoy. You never really have a break, which I feel is a good thing because you can just take a lot of momentum from one season to the next.”
Moller, who is currently studying a Double Degree of Commerce and Arts at Deakin University, is enjoying his studies but hopes he won’t need his degree for quite some time.
“It’s only one unit a semester, so not too much – it will take me quite a while to get things done.” Moller said. “Hopefully I can keep playing basketball for the next 10-12 years.”
The Australian squad is made up of a mix of players currently competing in Australian competitions and those that are attending college in the USA. The likes of Dejan Vasiljevic (University of Miami), Duop Reath (Louisiana State University) and Gorjok Gak (University of Florida) have all been named in the Australian squad.
With the squad scattered across the globe, there won’t be much time for teammates to become acclimated to each other. This makes the practice games prior to the tournament extremely important in order to iron out the kinks.
“We’ve had a group conference call, but we don’t have a mini-camp or anything leading into it.” Moller said. “We’ll have a few practice games when we get over there, to see where we’re at, but I think we’ve got a pretty good squad.”
Moller understands and respects how Australian basketball teams have gone about their business in international tournaments in the past, and he hopes this squad can continue the tradition.
“I think Australian teams are generally pretty tough and play hard, so if we can carry that on I think we’ll go alright.” Moller said.