Congratulations are in order to Spurs assistant Brett Brown who directed Australia to an the Olympic berth in the FIBA Oceania tournament.
Australia finished fourth in the Olympics in 1988, 1996 and 2000 and should have a good shot to surprise some teams next year in London.
They won the Oceania tournament without Milwaukee center Andrew Bogut, who didn’t play for the Boomers as he served as an assistant coach while recovering from an elbow injury.
“I think it’s relief, satisfaction, pride, a sense of accomplishment with the group,” Brown said. “It’s a fantastic group. It’s a fantastic accomplishment, there’s been a lot of work put into this by these guys. I look forward to moving forward with the group I think it’s got a lot of potential.”
Brown’s team did it in a way that mentor Gregg Popovich would have approved of.
“We did it with our defense, we take a lot of pride in being a defensive program first,” Brown said. “In games like that if you don’t guard you have no chance.”
It seems like I’ve heard that comment a time or two from Popovich …
But Brown’s team did as expected by beating New Zealand with a strong effort from Kirk Penney, who was in the Spurs training camp last fall. Penney produced 17 points, five rebounds and four assists to lead the victory.
“Since I took the job I knew we had to beat New Zealand,” Brown said. “What they do on the world stage, they are very well organized, they get the most out of their talent, they play hard, I have a lot of time for them. I think our depth did ultimately wear them down.”