Hawks coach Gordie McLeod given green light to recruit

BASKETBALL

Wollongong Hawks coach Gordie McLeod has been given the green light to speed up the player recruitment process for the 2014-15 NBL season.

Hawks coach Gordie McLeod. Picture: KIRK GILMOUR

Hawks coach Gordie McLeod. Picture: KIRK GILMOUR

The Hawks don't have a single player signed for next season, while McLeod and assistant coaches Eric Cooks and Matt Flinn are also uncontracted.

That situation should change over the next fortnight now that the club all but finalised next season's budget.

"We're definitely moving forward, no question," McLeod said.

"The board has been working hard in a lot of areas to get everything in place. They've been working on a budget and all those different aspects, and we're hopefully getting close to a situation where everything is going to be sorted out."

The Hawks were the talk of the NBL over the final two months of the 2013-14 season after winning seven of their last nine games to claim a semi-finals berth.

McLeod was named NBL Coach of the Year, Rotnei Clarke captured the prestigious Andrew Gaze Trophy as the league's MVP, while Kevin Tiggs won the NBL Sixth Man of the Year honours.

Clarke and Tiggs are obvious targets for rival clubs, while some of the club's local players might also be headhunted.

McLeod hopes to keep a large part of his team intact.

"We've done all our debriefs and now it's about recruiting and putting the nucleus of our group together. This is the busiest time of the year for us," he said.

"The free agents' list came out but we weren't in a position as a club to do anything because it's a bit of a different year with things happening and where the league's going. We're getting through the process and it's been a little more difficult than hoped, but we're getting close."

Retaining Clarke and Tiggs is perhaps the Hawks's greatest challenge.

"The recruitment committee has to meet and decide on the nucleus of the group going forward, but a big part of that is what our budget is," McLeod said.

"The reality is that Rotnei and Kevin were very good for us but if we've got the same budget, it's very difficult to give people an increase for playing well.

"The only way you can do that is you might have to change your roster around, and that's obviously what the coaching staff's been looking at."

Basketball Australia is looking for a new chief executive after Kristina Keneally resigned on Wednesday.

Keneally was on six months unpaid compassionate leave since January. She had served as BA's chief executive since August 2012.

"The board of BA has been incredibly supportive in regards to my personal circumstances," she said.

"It is with much sadness that I resign."

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