Good Afternoon
Good Afternoon

Before leading LI Nets, Adam Caporn wants to help Aussies attain Olympic success 

Adam Caporn gives instructions during the NBL Combine

Adam Caporn gives instructions during the NBL Combine at Melbourne Sports and Aquatic Centre on April 18, 2017, in Melbourne, Australia. Credit: Getty Images/Darrian Traynor

No matter the level of competition, Adam Caporn’s relentless dedication to player development can be appreciated throughout the basketball world.

An assistant coach for the Australian men’s basketball team since 2017, Caporn also served previously as head coach of Basketball Australia’s Centre of Excellence, the country’s leading program for junior player advancement, from 2014-21.

He’ll now aim to bring that same commitment to growth to the Long Island Nets — Brooklyn’s G League affiliate — which hired him as head coach on Tuesday.

"I’m certainly very excited," Caporn, 39, told Newsday from Las Vegas, where the Boomers are currently training for upcoming Olympic exhibition play. "One of the initial things that attracted me to the position was the Nets organization and the things they’re doing. I’ve come to know them a little bit, the strength of their culture and it seems like a great team to be a part of and hopefully contribute to a little bit.

"And I love development work, it’s a big part of my background. The Long Island situation and the strength of collaboration with Brooklyn is a big thing. So those are the first things that grabbed my attention."

But before making his way to the Island, Caporn looks to contribute to a potential history-making effort in Tokyo, as the Australian program seeks its first medal after previously going 0-8 in medal-clinching games.

Australia’s roster features seven NBA players, including Utah Jazz forward Joe Ingles, San Antonio Spurs guard Patty Mills, Philadelphia 76ers guard/forward Matisse Thybulle and Toronto Raptors center Aron Baynes. Philadelphia All-Star guard Ben Simmons withdrew from Olympic competition on June 29 to focus on "individual skill development."

"We love our roster," Caporn said. "It’s got great international and NBA experience, and a really strong leadership core that’s been here for a long time. It’s a coach’s dream because they really drive our culture and what we’re about.

"And then we have a nice mix with some young talent as well, guys who just joined us and it’s very clear how much they enjoy it and appreciate how special it is . . . The long-term strength of our national team is in good hands."

Caporn acknowledged that the U.S. team, which has won three consecutive gold medals, is "always going to be a formidable opposition and great challenge to overcome," and believes that exhibition matchups on July 12 and 16 will serve as a solid barometer for the Boomers.

"It’s exciting to play Team USA here in Las Vegas," Caporn said. "It’s a key part of our preparation and that’s how we’ll treat it."

He’s not only confident in the team’s pursuit of its first-ever medal, but also the prospect of capturing gold.

"We really like our chances," Caporn said. "There’s great belief and commitment to it. Medal games are difficult to win and that’s not something we’re avoiding or shying away from. There’s been discussion about it and how we’re going to overcome that hurdle.

"From a coaching perspective, we’ve had a lot of dialogue about how we’re going to pursue this gold medal. The players have a very powerful voice here and rightfully so. They’ve done a lot of heavy lifting — guys like Patty Mills in his fourth Olympics. They know what it’s about and what we need to do. And that veteran leadership is the key for us."

New York Sports