Basketball Australia (BA) can today announce that the Australian Men’s Basketball Team, the Australian Boomers, have undergone a transition of its coaching staff with the Philadelphia 76ers’ Brett Brown appointed as the national team’s new Head Coach.
Brown replaces the outgoing Andrej Lemanis who has been instrumental in the Boomers achieving gold medals at the 2017 Asia Cup and 2018 Commonwealth Games and leading the team to its highest-ever FIBA world ranking of third.
Having strengthened the foundations for Australia’s forthcoming Olympic campaign, Lemanis leaves an impressive legacy, achieving semi-final berths at the 2016 Rio Olympics and 2019 World Cup and securing qualification for Tokyo 2020.
Lemanis said he was honoured to have led the Boomers through a significant period for the men’s national team and said his decision to pass the baton was based on collaborative discussions with Brown and BA.
“It’s been an absolute honour and privilege to coach this group of players and to represent the country at the highest level. I’m thankful for having had the opportunity to be involved with the national team for such an extended period and for getting to work with so many great people. I leave with plenty of fond memories,” Lemanis said.
“My aim was always to leave the team in a better position than when I joined. There are so many people who contribute to the success of the program and I’m extremely grateful for the effort and support of all involved that enabled us to continue the progression and rise of Australian Basketball on the world stage.
“One of the key elements in making the Boomers environment so special is the willingness of everyone involved to sacrifice for the greater good of the team. For the culture to remain, we all have to live by, and display, those values. It is my belief that for the Boomers to medal at the Tokyo Olympics, the coach best positioned to deliver that is Brett Brown. His understanding of, and connection to, the NBA environment and nuances, as well as his knowledge and love of Australian basketball position him as the best person to lead the team in Tokyo.
“I’ve been involved in the process and have been 100 per cent supportive of Brett and it’s been a collaborative approach. It’s what I believe is best for the team and I have always made decisions in the best interests of the team.”
Basketball Australia CEO Jerril Rechter said she is extremely grateful for Lemanis’ significant contribution to Basketball Australia and the Boomers.
“Andrej’s impact has been profound and his legacy for this team has been foundational,” Rechter said.
“He has been a pivotal leader for the national team since 2013 and has ensured that the Boomers and men’s basketball in Australia has achieved notable success during his tenure.
“Andrej and his supporting staff, including Luc Longley, Will Weaver, Adam Caporn and David Patrick have been incredibly selfless and our federation is grateful for their commitment.
“Given their shared history from the London Olympics, Brett is perfectly positioned to continue in Andrej’s footsteps. Brett is a proven, elite international coach who will bring significant experience and understanding of the Boomers environment and we’re delighted to welcome him aboard.”
Brown was previously the Boomers Head Coach between 2009-2012, which encompassed the 2010 World Championships and the London 2012 Olympics and has an intimate knowledge of the international and Australian game – having previously coached at the Melbourne Tigers, North Melbourne Giants and Sydney Kings.
Brown served as an assistant coach at the San Antonio Spurs for 11 seasons, including four NBA Championship campaigns, and will assume the Boomers Head Coach role after six years at the 76ers.
“When the opportunity to coach the Boomers next summer in Tokyo came up, I was reminded of my deep history with Australia and Australian basketball,” stated Brown.
“I felt a duty to try and help in any way that I could. The spirit of the country and the athletes of the country exemplify on a day-to-day basis the passion that is Australian sport. That passion is respected and recognized throughout the world and I’m very excited to be a part of that again.
“This is our mission and my message to our team: We’re going into the 2020 Olympics to win a gold medal. I understand the magnitude of this statement. I would feel irresponsible having any other goal but this.”
Commenting on the updated coaching mandate, BA President and Chairman of the Board Ned Coten welcomed Brown to the Head Coach role and thanked Andrej for his legacy and influence.
“Next year represents another significant opportunity for Australian basketball on the world stage,” Coten said.
“We’ve been fortunate to have Andrej establish the Boomers as one of the world’s strongest basketball teams, which is a testament to his dedication to the role.
“Heading into an Olympic year, we’re excited to see what this group of players can achieve and wish Brett all the very best in guiding the Boomers forward.”