Walker is shooting at role in Boomers

Lucas Walker, playing for the Melbourne Tigers, surges forward during the semi-final against Adelaide. Lucas was named yesterday in the Boomers' training squad. Picture: GETTY IMAGES

Lucas Walker, playing for the Melbourne Tigers, surges forward during the semi-final against Adelaide. Lucas was named yesterday in the Boomers' training squad. Picture: GETTY IMAGES

LUCAS Walker knows the job is not yet done on his road to Australian selection despite yesterday winning a place at a Boomers training camp ahead of the Sino-Australia Challenge against Team China.

The Launceston 29-year-old credited a change in his mental focus towards the game as a key to his strong season for the Melbourne Tigers in the NBL, where he averaged 22.4 points and 3.1 rebounds a game, which ultimately led to his inclusion in the squad.

"Just putting in hard work this year and having a good year paid off," the 202-centimetre, 102-kilogram forward told The Examiner.

"I made a pretty big change in my mental approach in the off- season last year and that really helped with concentration and consistency, and being able to put together games back-to-back.

"It wasn't one of my strong points as I would have two good games and then go missing."

The former Riverside High School and Launceston College student, who also represented Montana State University Billings and Saint Mary's College of California in the US, will be involved with a Boomers squad for the second time.

He will be taking the attitude that "here's another opportunity, and now it's up to you" into the camp, with only 12 of the 14 to make the cut for the China series.

"I would consider myself one of the best athletes that play in Australia, but skill-wise there are a lot of guys who are great shooters, but my strength is my athletic ability and being able to outrun, out-jump and outwork opponents.

"But I'm one of the guys now and I've got to earn some respect from players and coaches and show them I deserve to be there.

"I've got something to prove as it is the first time I've been in the squad for a number of years, and I know it is not just going to happen for me and I know I'm not automatically in."

The training camp and subsequent series will also be important for selection for the FIBA world cup selection camp set in July, where there will be 16 spots available, while longer term the Rio Olympics are also a goal for Walker.

He was one of four Tasmanians selected, along with Walker's teammate, fellow Launcestonian and the NBL's leading scorer Chris Goulding, Hobart's New Mexico-based guard Hugh Greenwood and Perth Wildcats' NBL championship-winning centre/ forward Matt Knight, of Burnie.

Greenwood tweeted: "Excited to have been given another opportunity to represent my country at the upcoming Boomers camp in Perth. Still a lot of work to be done.

"I'm looking forward to the challenge."

The notable exclusion was Cluan's London Olympian Adam Gibson, with Walker believing he may have been rested for this camp.

The Boomers will play matches against China at Perth's Challenge Stadium on May 29 and 31, with the final two games of the series in China on June 6 and 8.

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