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NBL's Bullets take Lemanis' mind off Rio

NZN 1/09/2016 Vince Rugari

The heartbreak of missing out on a medal in Rio has been swiftly forgotten by Boomers coach Andrej Lemanis as he returns to life at the helm of the Brisbane Bullets.

Lemanis is back at work after steering last month's gallant but ultimately fruitless Olympic campaign by the Boomers, who fell agonisingly short in their bronze playoff against Spain.

The three-time NBL title-winning coach was merely an observer for the Bullets' 94-91 defeat to UCLA on Monday night in front of a sold-out Logan crowd - the franchise's first official match in seven years.

But, he has officially taken the reins back from assistant CJ Bruton, who has covered for him during his Olympic absence, as pre-season preparations kick into gear.

"It's got my mind off (Rio), for sure, which is good," Lemanis said.

"That was heartbreaking, the way it finished - I'm still very proud of the team and the way they played the game and represented Australian basketball on the international stage.

"I'm just disappointed for the boys that they weren't rewarded with a medal. I thought they deserved one, but that's sport.

"It has been nice to be able to get back on the court immediately afterwards and get straight back into basketball mode."

Lemanis is no guarantee to remain as Boomers coach since future Olympic and World Cup qualifying tournaments will clash with the NBL season.

The Bullets won't stand in his way if he wishes to stay on as Australian mentor but Basketball Australia's usual preference is for a dedicated national coach.

In the meantime, Lemanis says there is plenty of work ahead for the Bullets despite encouraging signs in their narrow loss to UCLA.

They soon depart for a short tour of New Zealand for three games against Lemanis' former side, the Breakers, while later this month is the Australian Basketball Challenge in Brisbane - a pre-season tournament featuring all eight NBL teams, plus Chinese teams Tianjin Ronggang Gold Lions and Zhejiang Golden Bulls.

"As everything with a club starting with scratch, there's some challenges," Lemanis said.

"If you're an established club, there are certain things that just roll over from year to year.

"We've got nothing to roll over from right now so there's a lot of work that needs to be done at all levels of the club to get things to where they need to be."

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