David Barlow: Boomers call up a 'dream come true'

MELBOURNE, Australia -- Boomers veteran David Barlow has labelled his shock call up to the Australian World Cup squad a "dream come true," saying he never expected to be playing for his country again.

The Melbourne United forward, who represented Australia at both the 2008 and 2012 Olympic Games, received the last minute nod to join the national team after Jonah Bolden withdrew for personal reasons.

"It's been a crazy couple of days," Barlow said. "I haven't been to a major tournament in a while and so when I got that call it was a fairly emotional time for me and my family who have been on this journey with me.

"In this industry you never say never, and when my body started to feel better I started to daydream about the possibilities. How realistic? I didn't think it was highly likely.

"It's a dream come true for me to be able to put myself back in that position. Whatever comes my way I'll be stoked with and I'm just going to enjoy it."

Barlow, 35, has impressed in the NBL over the last two seasons with his consistency, ability to play defence and stretch the floor with his long-range shooting.

Boomers head coach Andrej Lemanis says the experienced Barlow was the obvious replacement for Bolden ahead of the World Cup.

"We had played two games against Canada and had an opportunity to really assess how we look as a group with everyone's skillsets," Lemanis told ESPN. "It was then a case of what complements that set of skills the best and as we scoured the available market, David Barlow was a name which we kept coming back to.

"He's someone who has obviously played at the highest level before and played really well in the NBL over the last couple of years after struggling with some injuries. But he's in great shape now and was thrilled to get the call. I think that's a fantastic story."

Bolden's withdrawal from the Australian roster is just another chapter in what's been a World Cup camp full of distractions for the men in green and gold.

Earlier this month, Ben Simmons announced he would not be taking part in the World Cup, despite committing to the cause in June. The Philadelphia 76ers star was then involved in an incident at Melbourne's Crown Casino where he suggested he had been racially vilified and denied entry.

Just days later, Boomers youngster Xavier Cooks -- who had come into the squad to replace Thon Maker -- suffered a knee injury during a training session, ruling him out for the entire camp.

"Look, this is professional sport and things happen," Boomers veteran Patty Mills told ESPN. "Injuries and whatnot, it all happens. This is just another one of those things.

"A teammate has made a decision based on what's best for him and we're here to support him. That's all we can do."

"We're excited. This is going to be a huge week on many accounts and it's obviously great for our sport."

The Boomers now face Team USA in two highly-anticipated practice matches on Thursday and Saturday at Melbourne's Marvel Stadium before jetting off to China for the FIBA World Cup.