Coach Brett Brown on way back to Boomers
Australian Olympic men’s basketball coach Brett Brown is on his way to join his team and could take charge of the third match of their series against China in Perth next week.
Brown’s San Antonio Spurs were knocked out of the NBA finals race this week, freeing the Boomers coach and star point guard Patty Mills to join Australia’s Olympic Games build-up.
Assistant coach Andrej Lemanis will guide the Boomers in the first of their three-match series against China at Perth’s Challenge Stadium on Saturday night.
The series then moves to Albany for game two on Monday, before the final match in Perth on Wednesday.
Brown is expected to have arrived in camp by game three.
Mills won’t join his teammates until they meet in Melbourne ahead of a three-match series against Greece later this month.
The Boomers will test all their guard options in Mills’ absence against world No.10 China, with Adam Gibson, Matthew Dellavedova, Damian Martin and Peter Crawford all named in the 12-man team for game one.
Skipper Matt Nielsen will lead the side, while US college-based Ryan Broekhoff, a 21-year-old swingman, is also included.
Brown, an assistant with the Spurs, has been involved in Boomers team meetings this week via Skype.
The China series provides a timely test whether his players have added the defensive smarts and fitness Brown sees as vital to the Boomers winning a medal in London.
“Brett’s made a point he wants us to be the fittest team at the Olympics,” Gibson said.
“Everyone’s really dug in the last year and made sure they’ve got in really good shape and are as fit as can be to give us the best chance to medal.”
The series in Victoria later this month against Greece is likely to be against an understrength visiting side.
Greece have not yet qualified for London, and it is believed they will hold back some of their best players for the Olympic qualifying tournament in Venezuela in early July.
Australian team to play China: Damian Martin, Hugh Greenwood, Adam Gibson, Peter Crawford, Ryan Broekhoff, Matthew Dellavedova, David Barlow, Mark Worthington, Aron Baynes, Daniel Kickert, Matt Nielsen, Julian Khazzouh.© AAP 2013
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