THREE basketballers who grew up in country Victoria can now boast to playing together in front of the sport's biggest crowd in Australian history.
Warrnambool's Nathan Sobey, Maryborough's Matthew Dellavedova and Horsham's Mitch Creek hail from towns smaller than the 51,218 crowd which flocked to Marvel Stadium for the Boomers' much-hyped series opener against Team USA on Thursday night.
Sobey said it was a humbling experience to suit up with NBA-listed Dellavedova and former Adelaide 36ers teammate Creek in the green and gold as the Boomers prepare for the FIBA World Cup in China.
The Brisbane Bullets recruit, who finished with five points and three assists after he was injected into the Boomers' line-up midway through the fourth quarter, is used to Dellavedova being a challenging rival.
"I didn't play with or against 'Creeky' until I got to Adelaide but me and 'Delly' played against each other a bunch of times growing up, obviously him playing for Bendigo and me for Warrnambool," Sobey told The Standard post-game.
"We had some pretty good contests and it's great to be on his team now and working together."
Sobey dished off an assist to Creek, who has signed with new NBL franchise South East Melbourne Phoenix, in the final stages of the Boomers' 102-86 defeat.
The pair is excited to replicate that cohesion at the world cup after Creek, who was a shock omission from the original 12-man roster, earned a reprieve following an injury to Xavier Cooks.
"Creeky is one of my good friends and seeing him not make the team I know it was pretty deep for him and hurt him," Sobey said.
"It is a credit to him now that he's been called back up and he's ready for whenever his name is called.
"Those (people missing out) are the things that you don't want to see but that is the way Basketball Australia is at the moment, we've got so much depth and there are conversations we have to have with certain people.
"It is great to have him on the team again and he'll be relishing every moment he can."
Sobey and Creek are preparing for their world cup debuts while Dellavedova represented Australia at the 2014 edition.
The experience on the Boomers' roster, which includes NBA-calibre players Dellavedova, Patty Mills, Joe Ingles, Aron Baynes and Andrew Bogut, is helping Sobey elevate himself to another level.
"Those guys have played in a lot of tournaments like this and you've just got to take in what you can," he said.
"Not just from him (Dellavedova) but the older leadership guys who have been around the block."
Sobey said the highly-credentialed team meant players had to wait for their chance on court.
The spring-heeled guard blocked out the hype as he prepared for his moment on Thursday night.
"I am ready to go whenever my name is called and I just have to continue to do that and be ready for when the team needs me," he said.
"It (the crowd was) bigger than Warrnambool. It was definitely a big opportunity and obviously being in my home state makes it even more special.
"Having my family, who I just caught up with then (post-game), come and watch me do it and to be part of a great group of guys was a great feeling."
Australia will play Team USA at Marvel Stadium again on Saturday at 2pm before the world cup. Sobey is hoping for a quick pit-stop in Brisbane to see wife CC and newborn daughter Harley.
"She is awesome. I got some videos from my wife, it was good to see those after the game," he said. "I am trying to work on getting home for a couple of days before we fly out to China but I've just got to wait and see."
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