Andrej Lemanis back as Boomers head coach
Andrej Lemanis will once again lead the Australian Boomers into the Olympic Games, as Basketball Australia today announced he has been reappointed for the four-year cycle towards Tokyo 2020.
The Boomers came agonisingly close to winning a medal at the 2016 Rio Games, but ultimately fell short in finishing fourth. Lemanis’ creative offensive system was one of the reasons Australia achieved this level of success, and in Tokyo, the hope will be the 48-year-old can take the Boomers one step further.
It was also confirmed Lemanis will remain head coach of the NBL’s Brisbane Bullets.
“I am both humbled and honoured to be given the opportunity by Basketball Australia to once again be the head of the Helloworld Boomers,” Lemanis said, via a media release.
“I think we have a feeling of unfinished business.
“The FIBA qualifiers will provide opportunities for new players to step up and wear the green and gold as we work towards our goal of trying to achieve something that no previous men’s team has been able to do. That is, medal at a major event at the FIBA World Championships in 2019 or the Tokyo Olympics in 2020.
“The support of those within Basketball Australia to remain in the position has been overwhelming and I’m really appreciative of the support that the organisation has shown me.”
The road to Tokyo will be an unfamiliar one for the Boomers, with the 2019 FIBA World Cup looming large for their Olympic hopes.
Firstly, the Boomers have to qualify for the World Cup, which will be hosted by China. From there, Australia will have two chances to get to the Olympics. If the Boomers are the best-performed Oceania team at the World Cup, they’ll earn a direct invitation to Tokyo.
However, if Lemanis fails to lead Australia to the top of the table among Oceania sides, the road to Tokyo will be more nerve-racking. The Boomers will need to finish inside the top-24 teams at the World Cup, which earns them a spot in the Olympic qualification tournament, which will be their last chance to punch a ticket to the Games.
To make things even tougher, Lemanis won’t have access to the Australians playing in the NBA, as the league won’t release players to international clubs during the season.
"With them being in the NBA it presents its challenges, but we will communicate and visit with them and see how we can get them integrated as soon as possible,” Lemanis said, via Roy Ward of Fairfax Media.
"When you look at the core still continuing it's really exciting then we have this fantastic opportunity to get those [young] guys into the group."
The two-time NBL Coach of the Year will have his plate full with commitments, as he leads Australia into the World Cup qualification stages, the 2018 Commonwealth Games in the Gold Coast, and then potentially, the World Cup tournament and Olympics.
Despite the heavy workload, Basketball Australia is confident in keeping Lemanis on-board.
“We are thrilled to have secured Andrej to lead our charge into Asia ahead of the FIBA World Cup in China and Tokyo Olympics,” Basketball Australia CEO, Anthony Moore, said.
"Andrej was exceptional for the entire Australian basketball system over the past four years in his previous role with Basketball Australia and combined with the performance of the team in Rio, we were eager to retain him as our Boomers Head Coach.
“Importantly, this appointment allows Andrej to continue to do what he does best in practicing his craft and coaching the Brisbane Bullets in the NBL. We are grateful for the support of the Bullets and the NBL,"
Lemanis’ role as Australian coach will commence on May 1, 2017.
In further information, Olgun Uluc of FOX Sports Australia, obtained an exclusive schedule of the Boomers’ path to Tokyo, from Basketball Australia’s General Manager of High Performance, Jan Stirling.
July 14-19 — Selection Camp (location TBC)
July 22-30 — Five Continent Cup (China)
August 1-7 — Rest and recovery days
August 8-9 — Training days
August 10-20 — FIBA Asia Cup (Beirut, Lebanon)
November 20-28 — World Cup Qualifiers
February 19-27 — World Cup Qualifier (home and away)
April 4-18 — Commonwealth Games Preparation and Games (Emerging Boomers)
June 25-July 3 — World Cup Qualifier (home and away)
September 10-18 — World Cup Qualifier (home and away)
November 20-28 — World Cup Qualifier (home and away)
February 18-28 — World Cup Qualifier (home and away)
July / August TBA — World Cup Selection camp / pre-games competition
August 21-September 15 — World Cup
November 23 - December 3 — Asia Cup qualifiers (home and away)
February 17-25 — Asia Cup qualifiers
June TBA — Olympic Selection Camp and International preparation