Old-school ap­proach Le­ma­nis’ down­fall

Mercury (Hobart) - - SPORT - MATT LOGUE

IT’S the re­la­tion­ship break­down with su­per­star Ben Simmons that prompted An­drej Le­ma­nis to end his sixyear Boomers ten­ure, re­sult­ing in Brett Brown be­ing handed the top job for Aus­tralia’s medal tilt at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

The bas­ket­ball world was shocked yes­ter­day with the rev­e­la­tion Brown was fi­nal­is­ing an agree­ment to re­turn as Aus­tralian coach. The Philadel­phia 76ers head men­tor last coached the Boomers at the 2012 Lon­don Olympics.

Seven years on, Brown is ex­pected to re­place Le­ma­nis in the top job af­ter the Bris­bane Bul­lets men­tor opted to move on af­ter fall­ing out with a host of Aus­tralia’s ris­ing NBA play­ers.

News Corp un­der­stands that the soon-to-be for­mer Boomers men­tor had a strained re­la­tion­ship with the likes of Simmons, Jonah Bolden and Thon Maker. The main crit­i­cism was that Le­ma­nis strug­gled to com­mu­ni­cate with the younger play­ers and his old school ap­proach wasn’t well re­ceived.

He be­came tired of the con­stant bat­tles with play­ers within the team, so he de­cided to walk away with a year to run on his con­tract.

Le­ma­nis’ re­la­tion­ship with Simmons and his camp was never per­fect and for­ever a work in progress. The NBA All-Star guard was con­stantly at log­ger­heads with Bas­ket­ball Aus­tralia over per­for­mance de­mands be­ing re­jected due to bud­get­ing rea­sons.

These re­quests in­cluded a per­sonal team chef in­stead of eat­ing at ho­tels, plus ex­tra re­cov­ery and per­for­mance staff like per­sonal phys­io­ther­a­pists. These knock­backs, along with his testy as­so­ci­a­tion with Le­ma­nis, played a ma­jor role in Simmons not play­ing at the Bas­ket­ball World Cup in China.

Pic­ture: GETTY/AFP

NEW LOOK: Aussie sen­sa­tion Ben Simmons is ex­pected to suit up for Boomers duty at the Olympics, with his Phi­lad­pe­hia 76ers head coach Brett Brown re­turn­ing to take over du­ties as coach for the na­tional side.

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