Australia appoint 76ers coach Brown for Tokyo Olympics

Sydney (AFP) –


The Philadelphia 76ers' Brett Brown was appointed the new coach of Australia's basketball team Wednesday, replacing Andrej Lemanis as they target a gold medal at next year's Tokyo Olympics.

The 58-year-old American previously led the Boomers at the 2012 London Olympics and has an intimate knowledge of the Australian game, having coached at the Melbourne Tigers, the North Melbourne Giants and the Sydney Kings.

"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," said Brown, who will assume the role after six years in charge of the 76ers in the NBA.

"I felt a duty to try and help in any way that I could."

Brown, who spent 11 years as assistant coach at the San Antonio Spurs, takes over as Australia target gold in Tokyo after their semi-final appearance at the 2016 Games in Rio.

"This is our mission and my message to our team: We're going into the 2020 Olympics to win a gold medal," he said.

"I understand the magnitude of this statement. I would feel irresponsible having any other goal but this."

Lemanis, who was instrumental in Australia achieving 2017 Asia Cup and 2018 Commonwealth Games gold medals, while leading the team to its highest-ever FIBA world ranking of third, called the switch to Brown "a transition".

"My aim was always to leave the team in a better position than when I joined," he said.

"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.

"It is my belief that for the Boomers to medal at the Tokyo Olympics, the coach best positioned to deliver that is Brett Brown."

Brown will be in charge of an Australian team spearheaded by Sixers star Ben Simmons, who said this year he plans to represent the country of his birth at the Olympics.