Aussie Nielsen named NBA G League coach

Shayne Hope
·1-min read

Boomers great Matt Nielsen's rapid rise through world basketball coaching ranks has continued with his appointment as head coach of the San Antonio Spurs' NBA G League affiliate, the Austin Spurs.

The 42-year-old's promotion comes after just one season as an Austin assistant under Blake Ahearn, who vacated the head coach role to take up an assistant position with the NBA's Memphis Grizzlies in June.

Nielsen, a three-time Olympian with the Boomers, has been on an upward coaching trajectory since calling time on an outstanding playing career in Australia and Europe in 2013.

He spent four seasons as a Perth Wildcats assistant under Trevor Gleeson from 2015-2019 and played a key role in the local power club's three NBL titles during that time.

Nielsen was also involved in a part-time development role with the San Antonio Spurs, where he worked under coaching legend Gregg Popovich and earned high praise from Boomers and Spurs star Patty Mills, before joining the G League's Austin Spurs full-time.

The former power forward's professional playing career began as a teenager at home, where he spent almost a decade with the NBL's Sydney Kings.

He was part of two Kings championship teams and was named league MVP in 2004.

Nielsen also enjoyed a successful playing career in Europe, winning the EuroCup twice during nine seasons in Lithuania, Greece, Spain and Russia.