Detroit Pistons pull pin on Maker's World Cup involvement
THON Maker has withdrawn from the Australian Boomers' selection process for the 2019 FIBA World Cup, with the Detroit Pistons preferring he focus on his development during the off-season, multiple sources have told foxsports.com.au.
The Sudanese-Australian big-man, who made his Boomers debut in June last year, would more than likely have been a lock for the upcoming World Cup, but instead will become the third Australian NBA player not to participate.
Dante Exum had already been ruled out with a partially torn patellar tendon, and Ryan Broekhoff has chosen to miss the tournament to make sure he's around for the birth of his first child.
All three will miss the event, as well as the lead-up games, which includes a pair of games against the USA at Melbourne's Marvel Stadium.
Maker was traded to the Pistons at the trade deadline, and emerged as a key part of Dwane Casey's rotation.
Reached for comment, Basketball Australia confirmed Maker had withdrawn from the selection process, while throwing their full support behind the decision.
Maker's first stint in the green and gold was one to forget. The first game was a loss to Japan, which was shortly followed by a fixture that ended in the infamous brawl between Australia and the Philippines.
The 22-year-old Maker was part of that melee and received a three-game suspension for his role in it, famously unleashing what many described as karate kicks, in an attempt to defend his teammates.
The circumstances surrounding the brawl with the Philippines isn't likely to have factored into the Pistons' preference for Maker to focus on his game over the summer, according to those with knowledge of the situation.
Maker still has a desire to play for the Boomers in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, a source close to him said.
When asked last December about the prospect of playing in the World Cup, which will be held in China from August 31 to September 15, Maker expressed his desire to take part in the event.
"Oh yeah, definitely. No question. I definitely wanna be a part of that," Maker told foxsports.com.au.
"This summer was very special, just to get my foot in... it was just to get in there and kinda get a feel for the system, the teammates, the coaching staff. It was perfect for me."
In that interview, the big man said he wanted to represent the Boomers in both the 2019 World Cup and 2020 Olympic Games.
Basketball Australia will announce the Boomers' training camp squad on Thursday morning, at 11am (AEST).