No third time lucky for selfless Lemanis

Murray Wenzel
Andrej Lemanis guided the Boomers to fourth-placed finishes at the Olympics and the World Cup

Andrej Lemanis has rejected claims there was any bad blood between himself and the Boomers' NBA contingent.

Instead he says his successor Brett Brown could simply "speak that language" that ensured a better shot at Olympic gold in Tokyo.

Lemanis brought about his own undoing as coach, after a gut-wrenching fourth-place finish at this year's World Cup, reaching out to Brown and proposing a return to the side the Philadelphia 76ers' mentor led at London's 2012 Games.

That performance in China followed an equally devastating fourth at the Rio Games in 2016.

Lemanis conceded after the failed World Cup bid that it was time for "fresh energy, eyes and ideas".

Given Australia's Olympic squad, expected to feature All-Star Ben Simmons for the first time in national team colours since 2013, could conceivably feature exclusively NBA talent it makes sense.

"To keep doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result isn't smart," he said.

"You get such a short amount of time to prepare, so ... having someone who speaks that language helps expedite the process of the team getting to be where it needs to be.

"It's my turn to sacrifice for the good of the group and it's basically as simple as that, and I truly believe with Brett at the helm that's the best way forward for the group."

Lemanis doesn't think he's on the nose with the players but said the fact Brown coaches both Simmons and Jonah Bolden at the 76ers is a factor.

"The number of phone calls and text messages I've received from NBA players that are Boomers, would suggest that's not true," he said.

"But it's naive to suggest Brett's connection with those guys is not relevant.

"Being able to connect, trust and already have a working relationship is a significant advantage."

Lemanis will now switch his entire focus to the Brisbane Bullets, who he admitted may have been treated unfairly by him as he balanced NBL and natiopnal team commitments.

On the flip side, Brown said he would need to quickly get up to speed on any NBL players in the mix for Olympic selection.

While Andrew Bogut is a lock, the trio of Mitch Creek, Chris Goulding and Nicholas Kay impressed at the World Cup - but Cameron Gliddon, Nathan Sobey and David Barlow were rarely used.

Simmons, Bolden, Ryan Broekhoff, Thon Maker and Dante Exum were among the NBA players not available for selection in China.

Brown said he had spoken to every player in the program and expected 100 per cent commitment for Tokyo.