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Goorjian: We need Ben Simmons to win a medal

New Boomers coach Brian Goorjian will reach out to Ben Simmons about playing for Australia at next year‘s Tokyo Olympics, declaring the NBA star is “crucial to our chances of winning a medal”. Only moments after being unveiled as the new Australian coach on Friday, Goorjian moved quickly to start planning his roster.Simmons was set…

New Boomers coach Brian Goorjian will reach out to Ben Simmons about playing for Australia at next year‘s Tokyo Olympics, declaring the NBA star is “crucial to our chances of winning a medal”.

Only moments after being unveiled as the new Australian coach on Friday, Goorjian moved quickly to start planning his roster.

Simmons was set to play for the Boomers at last year’s World Cup in China before he opted to forego his commit to focus on the NBA after signing a five-year contract extension worth $242 million.

The Philadelphia 76ers point guard is yet to represent the Boomers at an Olympics or World Championships after being cut from the final World Cup roster in 2014 and focusing on his rookie NBA season for the 2016 Rio Olympics.

Goorjian, though, is keen for Simmons to don the Boomers singlet.

“Ben is obviously very high on my priority list,” Goorjian said.

“He is a phenomenal basketball player, and he would be great for this (Olympic) campaign.

“He is a piece that could make a big difference in us medalling.

“I’m sure all the players would be excited if he were to be a part of the team.

“I don’t know where Ben sits, as far as it being something he wants to do, but I certainly will be contacting him to see how he sees this.”

Simmons’ inclusion at the Olympics, and all NBA players for that matter, will hinge on the NBA season.

The 2020-2021 campaign will start on December 22, with a 72-game schedule.

The shorter season could open the door for NBA players to represent their countries at next year’s Tokyo Olympics, if they go ahead from July 23 to August 8.

Goorjian will meet with Basketball Australia officials on Saturday before moving to appoint his assistant coaches.

He aims to then talk to every Australian player personally who competed at the 2019 World Cup in China.

A major reason Goorjian was hired to return as Boomers coach is because he had the backing of the team’s NBA stars.

In fact, he received the green light from the likes of Joe Ingles and Patty Mills over a month ago via the Players’ Association.

The current Hawks head coach in the NBL has previously introduced Andrew Bogut, Patty Mills, and Joe Ingles to the Olympic stage.

Goorjian praised the Boomers’ NBA players for backing him to be Australian coach again.

“That was huge,” he said.

“That support they showed me means a lot to me.

“I also started with a lot of these guys and now they are in their prime and it is really beautiful to have another opportunity with them at this time.

“It means everything.”

Goorjian will lead the Boomers at the 2021 Tokyo Olympics through to the 2023 FIBA Basketball World Cup.

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