Goorjian returns as Boomers coach amid feeling of ‘unfinished business’

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Basketball Australia Hall of Fame coach Brian Goorjian will return as Australian Boomers coach for the 2021 Tokyo Olympics through to the 2023 FIBA World Cup.

Goorjian will step into the role just as the Boomers prepare to chase their first medal at next year’s postponed Olympics and they hope to have all their NBA stars after the league and its players agreed on starting their delayed season just before Christmas, allowing for the season to finish before the Olympics.

Long-time coach Andrej Lemanis stepped down from the role after last year's FIBA World Cup campaign which saw the Boomers finish fourth but go within an overtime loss of making the gold medal game.

NBA coach Brett Brown had agreed to take on the Boomers role exclusively for the Tokyo Olympics while BA searched for a long-term coach but he had to resign as he looks for his next NBA role.

Goorjian, a six-time NBL championship winning coach, led the Boomers for the 2004 and 2008 Olympic campaigns before heading to China where he became the longest-serving foreign coach during 11 years in the Chinese Basketball Association.

The COVID-19 pandemic saw Goorjian head home where he will lead NBL club the Hawks in the upcoming NBL season and he will combine that role with his Boomers commitments over the next few years.

“I am honoured to be appointed as the men’s national coach and I am looking forward to the challenge,” Goorjian said in a statement.

“Being reunited with some of the guys I previously coached at the Beijing Olympics is an exciting prospect.

“Australia is very fortunate to have such a talented group of athletes at this time. There is certainly a feeling of unfinished business, so there is a strong commitment from these players to participating in the Tokyo Olympics.

“I will be sitting down with Basketball Australia over the coming days to get fully briefed on their existing plans as we start the road to Tokyo and beyond.”

BA chief executive Jerril Rechter praised Goorjian’s appointment.

“Brian’s success as a coach both domestically and internationally, plus his experience on the Olympic stage made him a standout candidate for this prestigious role,” Goorjian said.

“His appointment as our senior men’s national team head coach elevates the excitement we feel for the Boomers, not just in Tokyo where we have podium expectations but also beyond this Olympic campaign.”

Goorjian will meet with BA in the next week to be briefed on the plans for the team’s path to Tokyo while the national team will also have FIBA Asia Cup qualifying games to complete once those games resume.

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