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Australia is first Olympic men’s basketball qualifier, without its star

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Australia will extend the longest active streak of Olympic men’s basketball appearances next summer.

The Australians clinched a spot in their 13th straight Olympics when New Zealand failed to advance out of its group at the FIBA World Cup. Oceania gets one Olympic qualifier out of the World Cup, and Australia took the spot by advancing to the second stage of group play.

Australia is the most accomplished basketball nation yet to earn an Olympic men’s medal. It finished fourth in 1988, 1996, 2000 and 2016, going winless in eight games with a medal at stake.

Australia’s medal hopes in Tokyo may be dependent on Philadelphia 76ers All-Star Ben Simmons.

Simmons passed on the Rio Olympics in favor of preparing for the 2016 NBA Draft, where he was the No. 1 overall pick, and the start of his pro career. He originally committed to the World Cup but withdrew on July 16 in favor of again preparing for the NBA season. But in withdrawing he said he would be “honored and humbled” to play at the Olympics.

Players on the World Cup roster with NBA experience include 2005 No. 1 overall pick Andrew Bogut and fellow Olympic veterans Patty Mills, Joe Ingles and Matthew Dellavedova.

Japan is in the 12-team Olympic field automatically as host nation. Six more nations will qualify for the Olympics at this month’s World Cup — two from the Americas, two from Europe, one from Africa and one from Asia.

The final four Olympic qualifiers will come from last-chance tournaments in 2020.

MORE: FIBA World Cup schedule, results

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Jerry Colangelo to stay with USA Basketball through 2020 Olympics (video)

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USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo is joining the Philadelphia 76ers front office, but that won’t change his commitment to the U.S. Olympic team.

“I’m going to continue with that through 2020, so not just Rio next summer, but Japan,” Colangelo, 76, said of guiding USA Basketball through the Tokyo 2020 Olympics on “Breakfast on Broad” on Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia on Tuesday.

USA Basketball announced Oct. 23 that Colangelo would continue as managing director of the U.S. men’s national team through 2020, while Gregg Popovich takes over as head coach from Mike Krzyzewski.

MORE: Gregg Popovich returns to write another chapter with U.S. team