Golden States Warriors associate head coach Mike Brown will take charge of Nigeria’s men national basketball team, D’Tigers, at the Tokyo Olympics the Nigeria Basketball Federation (NBBF) has announced.
The NBBF confirmed Brown’s appointment on its Twitter handle in the early hours of Wednesday.
However, nothing was said about the future of present coach of the team Alex Nworah although it is believed that Nworah will act as Brown’s assistant at the 2020 Olympics before resuming his position at the end of the tournament.
The NBBF had long sought to bolster the team’s backroom staff ahead of the Olympics but it was thought that any appointments would serve to provide Nworah with technical assistance rather than replace him.
The appointment of Brown, a former head coach of the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Los Angeles Lakers, and the 2009 NBA Coach of the Year marks a show of ambition by the NBBF and reveals a belief that Nigeria can be contenders at the Olympics.
D’Tigers bagged Africa’s sole ticket for the tournament by finishing as Africa’s best-placed team with a 17th place position at the 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup in China.
With a core of young exciting players like San Antonio Spurs’ Chimezie Metu, Minnesota Timberwolves’ Josh Okogie, and Miami Heat’s Gabe Vincent the NBBF would hope that a coach of Brown’s pedigree can build a formidable team to challenge for medals in Tokyo.
More importantly, the NBBF could be banking on Brown’s status to help convince American-born NBA players of Nigerian descent to switch to D’Tigers.
The federation has been in discussions with a number of players’ including the Miami Heat’s Bam Adebayo, Utah Jazz’s Miye Oni, Orlando Magic’s Chuma Okeke and Pheonix Suns’ Kezie Okpala.
Other players on the NBBF’s radar include Brooklyn Nets’ David Nwaba, New Orleans Pelicans Jahlil Okafor, Orlando Magic’s Wesley Iwundu and Toronto Raptors’ Ogugua “OG” Anunoby.”
Brown coaching career has spanned two stints as head coach of the Cleveland Cavaliers with whom he reached the 2007 NBA Finals, a short-lived spell with the Los Angeles Lakers and his current role as associate head coach of the Golden State Warriors with who he won the 2017 and 2018 NBA titles under head coach Steve Kerr.