Despite Basketball Australia having yet made any official announcement on status of Brett Brown replacing Andrej Lemanis as head coach of the Boomers for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, with Mitch Creek, Ben Simmons, Andrew Bogut and Matthew Dellavedova all openly making comment on the coaching change.
Following his brilliant 18 point, 7 rebound and 13 assist performance that included his first ever NBA three-pointer, Simmons spoke openly to ESPN’s Tim Bontemps about the change in Boomers head coach.
“I’m excited,” said Simmons on Brown returning to lead the Boomers in Tokyo. “I’m looking forward to it. He’s coaching me now, so we have a great relationship. I’ve known him my whole life. I’m excited to put together a great team.”
The reported appointment of Brown as head coach was first made public by Adrian Wojnarowski, and since then and despite widespread speculation, Basketball Australia has maintained radio silence.
“At this time, no comment will be made in relation to the speculation surrounding the Australian Boomers,” as was reported by Fox Sports Australia’s Olgun Uluc soon after the news broke.
A day later, and 2019 FIBA World Cup representative Mitch Creek has weighed in on the change of Boomers coach.
In speaking on Melbourne’s SEN NBL Show, Creek explained he had personally spoken with Lemanis over the phone this week in relation to the change being made.
“I actually spoke to Andrej Lemanis (yesterday) afternoon,” said Creek. “He ran me through everything, and we had a really good conversation. It is what it is, and it is change but at the same time I haven’t had much to do with Brett Brown at all.
“All I’ve heard is amazing things about the guy, how good a coach he is, how good he is with his players.
“All I can do right now is try better myself, stay healthy and put my hand up for hopefully an opportunity at a selection camp and if that comes up then we just take it where it comes and see where the chips land.”
Unlike Simmons who made himself unavailable for selection at this year’s World Cup in which the Boomers finished fourth, Creek was originally left out of the Boomers team of 12. However with the forced withdrawal of Xavier Cooks due to injury, Creek was called up as his replacement.
Creek understands the culture and fabric that had bound the Boomers playing group together over the past 4 years, having played an integral part in the team qualifying for China. He spoke of that culture, believing it would not change under Brown.
“There’s a culture that’s been instilled for a long time now. That’s not going to waver, that’s not going to change because a few things get said in the media,” Creek added.
“I know the guys in that team and there are going to be the same guys who have been present in previous campaigns and they’re going to be the guys that whatever happens, it’s going to be up to them to continue that same mentality, the same approach we have, the gold medal mentality, that Boomers approach.
“Just because some things get said or changes happen, it’s not a bad thing. We have such a deep roster with so much potential to be great and to medal, that pressure is always there to perform.
“Regardless of who we have coaching us, the players will do everything we can to chase that gold medal dream.”
Bogut is the latest current Boomer to speak out on the coaching change, thanking Lemanis publicly for his time at the helm via social media.
“Thanks to Andrej Lemanis for leading the Australian Boomers to what I believe is the most successful 4 year era ever,” outlined Bogut in his Tweet. “Consecutive 4th place finishes suck no doubt BUT 1 possession away in 2016 from Bronze, and 1 rebound, free throw and floater away from a Gold Medal game in 2019.”
Matthew Dellavedova would go on to share Bogut’s post with a short message of thanks to Lemanis of his own.
Andrej Lemanis performed honourably in the top job, despite receiving some criticism during this year’s FIBA World Cup, where the Boomers finished fourth. A lot of criticism has been directed as his team selection for the China campaign, with the Boomers narrowly missing out on a medal, just as they did at the Rio Olympics in 2016.
Originally contracted to serve as head coach until after the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, it is believed that Lemanis has stepped down rather than being pushed out.
With Creek, Simmons and Bogut all openly discussing Brown’s appointment over the last 2 days, it is intriguing that Basketball Australia has yet to break their silence to formally announce the change.