The decision by Australia national basketball team coach Andrej Lemonis to sit out former Washington State center Aron Baynes in the final round of group play at the World Cup would appear to figure prominently in FIBA’s decision to look into possible disciplinary action against Australia.
FIBA, the governing body of international basketball, announced Monday it is “opening disciplinary proceedings” against Australia in regard to its 91-83 loss to Angola Thursday. Playing time was limited for Australia’s regular starters, and Baynes – the team’s leading scorer and rebounder – did not play.
A FIBA press release read, “The on-court behavior displayed by Australia in that game generated huge disappointment by basketball fans and experts. It is widely suspected that Australia lost that game in order to avoid having to face the reigning world champions USA until the semifinals.”
After the loss to underdog Angola, Lemonis said he rested players to prepare for upcoming games, since Australia was already assured of advancing to the round of 16. Australia was eliminated in a 65-64 loss to Turkey in round-16 action on Sunday, when Baynes led the Aussies with 15 points and seven rebounds.
Following Australia’s loss to Angola, Slovenia guard Goran Dragic tweeted that Australia “fixed the game.” Dragic starred on the NBA’s Phoenix Suns last season. Baynes was a reserve on the NBA champions from San Antonio.