Former Hawk to Coach Harbour Heat
Appliance Shed Harbour Heat has signalled their intentions months out from the start to the next National Basketball League season with confirmation of a new coach and marquee signing for the 2010 season.
NZ Breakers Assistant Coach Judd Flavell will take the reins at Harbour as the two North Shore based basketball organisations forge closer ties. Furthermore those ties include the signing of Breakers centre Rick Rickert as the team’s marquee player, one that is sure to lead to other significant announcements in the near future.
Harbour Basketball Chief Executive Steve Dally says the signing of Flavell and Rickert is a clear indication of their aspirations for the season.
“This news today is us putting a line in the sand and saying ‘we are serious about winning this league’. For some years we have perhaps flattered to deceive and while we have made the play offs, we have just lacked that little bit of quality to go all the way.
“With Rickert leading our front court I think we have the type of player with the personality to lead the team and inspire those around him to the play offs and hopefully to a championship.
“And in Judd Flavell I think we have signed a young but potentially very good coach, one who has huge experience as a player and more latterly as a coach under the tutelage of Andrej Lemanis and the Breakers organisation.”
Flavell is an equal mix of excited and nervous about the appointment, his first to a senior head coach.
“I am excited about this opportunity and see it as a real challenge, I need to make the step up at some point and this is a great chance. I have spoken to Andrej (Lemanis) about this sort of opportunity for some time and we believe this role with the Heat is the best chance to make it work for everybody.
“This is new to me but the only way to gain experience is to go beyond what you have done before. I’ll continue to talk to Andrej and seek him out for advice during the season. As any coach takes up this sort of job for the first time, you have to have that mentor you can chat with; he will be of huge assistance I’m sure.
“This is my gig though, the head coach role means I am responsible and I will make the calls during the season so the buck stops with me. This is the biggest challenge, to be responsible for those calls as against when you are an assistant when you just throw ideas in to the mix knowing the final decision lies with someone else. I can’t wait though and am sure we will assemble a competitive roster on the back of signing Rick to the team.
“For me ‘team’ will play a huge part in building something special at Harbour, we must bring together the right mix of people and instil the right values as a group, values we can live up to on and off court. If we build on that base, we are off on the right foot.”
Plans are already well advanced with regards further signings with the squad set to be a healthy mix of young local talent and those with the quality to bring a championship to the Shore for the first time.
“Harbour Basketball is about a positive winning attitude,” said Dally. “We have enjoyed superb results at age group level in recent years and have developed some of the best talent this country has seen. It is our long term plan to ensure this emerging talent has the necessary pathway to achieve at the top level; one of those steps along the way is the chance to win an NBL championship without having to leave home.”
Dally said the on court moves with the signing of Flavell and Rickert were already paying dividends, with strong local interest in supporting the team.
“We have had good interest from North Shore and Auckland businesses in our varied sponsorship packages for the 2010 season. There are a number of rumours around about another big name signing, but nothing can be confirmed just yet. With a new coaching and management team this coming season and with some new and exciting initiatives on game days, the North Shore Events Centre will be the place to be, as it is now with the Breakers.”