Brown will put ball in Simmons’ hands
GILBERT GARDINER AND MATT LOGUE
NEW Boomers coach Brett Brown says he will automatically give Ben Simmons the ball if the NBA star decides to represent Australia at next year’s Tokyo Olympics.
Brown says he is happy for the Philadelphia 76ers’ marquee man and those closest to the Melburnian to decide the best course, fitness permitting, towards the Olympics.
“Ben has yet to make a statement in regards to his
“I believe that will be coming; I will leave that all to him.
“In the event that it plays out like we hope it will, I think it’s a natural pairing.
“He has been my point guard for the past few years … I will give him the ball again.”
Brown praised outgoing Boomers coach Andrej Lemanis’s program and success in the international arena, despite him not being able to get the team over the “hump” and medal at Olympic or program,”
World Cup level. The 76ers head coach said he felt a “duty” and “responsibility” to take up the “honorary” Boomers job, as part of a potential 2020 Olympics hitand-run medal mission.
“My sole mission right now is to coach the Philadelphia 76ers and stay connected to the (Australian) players,” Brown said.
“Reconnecting with some of the guys … is most on my mind.
“I have not thought one second what goes for on after Tokyo.” Lemanis’s strained relationship with Simmons reportedly prompted him to seek “fresh” change in Brown.
He knew there was no guarantee Simmons would play under him for Australia.
It’s a major reason why he reached out to Brown, who has a strong connection with Simmons and his family as the All-Star guard’s coach at the 76ers since 2016.
Lemanis’s relationship with Simmons and his camp was never perfect and forever a work in progress. “I came to the conclusion that in order for the team to have that opportunity (to medal) we needed a fresh injection, fresh energy … someone to help us get over that hump,” Lemanis said.
Brown will put the polish on the Boomers in an unapologetic bid for gold, mindful of the next Olympics being the international swan song for the likes of stalwarts Andrew Bogut, Patty Mills, Joe Ingles and Matthew Dellavedova.