Bring on Paris: Goorjian and the Boomers are looking ahead
After closing out a disappointing World Cup campaign with a win, the Australian Boomers and Brian Goorjian are already excited about what 2024 could bring.
It’s official: Brian Goorjian will lead the Australian Boomers to Paris, and he’ll do so with a second consecutive Olympic medal in his sights.
When it was first announced that Goorjian was returning to the top job back in 2020, it was to coach the team “through to the 2023 FIBA World Cup”. With Australia’s tournament now officially over after last night’s 100-84 win over Georgia, that left some doubt over his future.
He was asked point-blank postgame: Is your impression that you will be coaching the team through Paris?
“100%.” Then once more, just to make sure. “100%.”
And then some support from Boomers veteran Joe Ingles alongside him – “He’d better be!”
There was very little to take away from last night’s game. It was a dead rubber in every sense, with neither team able to progress and with Georgia missing a handful of key players. That result was never really in doubt as the Boomers led from start to finish and held a double-digit advantage from the second quarter onwards, with some momentary lapses on their part and some tough shot-making from Georgia the only things that prevented a bigger blowout.
While the Boomers were happy to end their tournament on a winning note, the focus has already shifted to an Olympic tournament set to be one of the most competitive ever held. “Our goal as a group was to be here at the end and we didn’t achieve that, which is obviously disappointing, but a lot of positives from this last six, seven weeks together with a very new group figuring out the right way to play,” Ingles said.
“We’ll continue to build off this and then whatever it is now, nine, ten months time, we’ll be ready to go in Paris.”
Even after a campaign that saw them fall well below expectations, registering their worst finish at a major tournament since 2014, the Boomers are refusing to bow down to any negativity. Fans might be searching for a light at the end of the tunnel of this campaign – well, Goorjian is happy to turn on the floodlights and show you every crack and crevice along the way.
“I’m not embarrassed, I’m going to go back to Melbourne with my head held high,” he said. “I feel that this isn’t a continuation of Rose Gold, and I knew when I re-signed to come back to this that I’d have to do some nasty stuff and that we would be in a position of change.
“I do think we had a chance to win a medal, so that is going to be a goal, but I also knew with change, with inexperience, style of play, playing together was a process that was going to take some time.”
The blueprint for Paris
Keep reading with a 7-day free trial
Subscribe to The Pick and Roll to keep reading this post and get 7 days of free access to the full post archives.