Sydney—Australia have suffered a setback after Jonah Bolden joined Philadelphia 76ers’ teammate Ben Simmons as a no-show for the upcoming basketball World Cup in China.
The power forward, who starred for the Boomers in their 81-73 win over Canada in an exhibition game on Friday, with 12 points and five rebounds off the bench, cited “personal reasons”.
Australia coach Andrej Lemanis said he supported the decision.
“My first thought is always with the player in these situations—having to withdraw from the national team is tough for anyone,” he said in a statement late Sunday.
“From a team perspective, the timing is sub-optimal, but again, we are very fortunate to have the depth of talent we have in this country available to take up this opportunity.”
A replacement will be named soon, likely ahead of the Boomers’ two pre-World Cup clashes against a depleted United States in Melbourne this week.
Bolden’s withdrawal follows a decision by Simmons—who recently signed a five-year, US$170 million contract extension with 76ers—to also skip the World Cup, which tips off on August 31.
Other Australian NBA standouts who will not be playing include Thon Maker (NBA commitments), Ryan Broekhoff (birth of his child) and Dante Exum (injury).
Despite their no-shows, Australia still boasts several NBA stars, including Utah Jazz’s Joe Ingle and Patty Mills of the San Antonio Spurs.