The Long Island Nets acquired guard Josh Newkirk to take the roster spot temporarily vacated by Mitch Creek, who is with the Australian national team.
The Long Island Nets will be without Mitch Creek for the next few games while Creek competes for the Australia national team in the final window of FIBA World Cup qualifying play and have added guard Josh Newkirk from the NBA G League’s available player pool.
Australia wraps up qualifying for the FIBA World Cup, to be played from Aug. 31 to Sept. 15 in China, with games on Thursday and Sunday. The Boomers have already qualified for China and close out their qualifying slate with games against Kazakhstan and Iran.
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Newkirk, 24, went undrafted last year after playing his final two collegiate seasons at Indiana University. A 6-foot-1, 195-pounder, Newkirk did not play in the NBA Summer League in 2018, but earned a spot with the NBA G League’s Texas Legends after an October tryout.
He played in 21 games for Texas, averaging 3.2 points in 8.6 minutes per game off the bench. He shot 35.7 percent overall and 34.2 percent on 1.8 attempts per game from 3-point range, scoring a career-high 10 points in 13 minutes in a win over the Delaware Blue Coats on Dec. 15.
Newkirk began his collegiate career at the University of Pittsburgh and played his freshman and sophomore seasons with the Panthers before transferring to Indiana.
As a senior with the Hoosiers, Newkirk started 24 of 31 games and averaged 7.1 points, 2.1 rebounds and 2.8 assists in 23.3 minutes per game on 37.8 percent shooting overall, hitting 30.5 percent on 3.0 attempts a game from deep.
In four seasons at Pitt and IU, he averaged 6.6 points and 2.6 assists in 22.2 minutes a game, shooting 41.2 percent and 34.8 percent on 2.3 attempts per game respectively. (Stats courtesy of RealGM.)
He was waived by the Legends on Feb. 10.
Creek, who spent two weeks with the parent Brooklyn Nets on two 10-day contracts before his second was terminated on Feb. 7, has averaged 14.5 points, 5.4 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 1.0 steals in 30.9 minutes per game with Long Island this season, shooting 54.3 percent overall and 20.5 percent on 1.5 3-point attempts per game.
The Boomers will be on the road for both games this week, playing at 9 a.m. Eastern Thursday at Republican Velodrome Saryarka in Astana, Kazakhstan. Australia is 9-1 in Group F play in the second round of qualifying, with a 94-41 win over the Kazaks at Bendigo, Australia on Sept. 17.
At 4-6 in group play, Kazakhstan has already been eliminated from contention for the FIBA World Cup.
The Australians close out qualifying play Sunday at Azady Gym in Tehran, Iran, against the Iranians, who are 7-3 in qualifying play and can clinch a berth either with a win against either Japan or Australia this week, or a loss by the Philippines.
Australia blasted Iran 76-47 in their first meeting, played in Melbourne, Australia, on Nov. 30.
Creek has played in four games with the Boomers in qualifying play, averaging 13.0 points and 8.8 rebounds in 20.9 minutes per game, shooting 64.1 percent overall and missing his lone 3-point attempt.
Creek hasn’t played with the Boomers since the first four games of first-round play, last appearing with the national team on Feb. 25, 2018, when he scored 18 points on 9-of-9 shooting in an 88-68 win over Chinese Taipei in Melbourne.
Australia went 5-1 in first-round play, winning Group B and advancing along with the Philippines and Japan, which handed the Boomers their lone loss in qualifying.
The first-round results carried over to the second round, where they were grouped with Iran, Kazakhstan and Qatar in Group F. The Aussies are 4-0 in the second round and 9-1 overall.
Qatar (2-8) has already been eliminated. The final two spots for the FIBA World Cup will go to two of a group of three national teams including Iran (7-3), Japan (6-4) and the Philippines (5-5).
Sunday’s game in Tehran will tip at 9:30 a.m. Eastern. Both of Australia’s game can be seen on LiveBasketball.TV.