Goorjian, McLeod meet again

Brian Goorjian, now coach of the Dongguan Leopards, shouts instructions to his players.

Brian Goorjian, now coach of the Dongguan Leopards, shouts instructions to his players.

BASKETBALL

Wollongong Hawks coach Gordie McLeod will match wits with NBL coaching legend Brian Goorjian next weekend at the Snakepit.

A six-time NBL championship winner and five-time Coach of the Year, Goorjian exited in 2009 to become coach of the Dongguan Leopards in the Chinese National League.

He has brought the Leopards to Australia for a series of games against NBL teams and will be prowling the Snakepit sidelines when the Hawks host the tourists on September 6.

Goorjian's NBL coaching career spanned more than 20 years and his 70 per cent winning ratio is the highest of any coach in NBL history.

"Playing against Goorjian-coached teams is always interesting," Hawks captain Oscar Forman said.

"They're always drilled the same and they're up and in your face, and you can be sure Goorjian will have us well scouted."

The trial against Dongguan will be the first in Wollongong colours for highly-rated American guard Jahii Carson.

Hawks returnee Gary Ervin will also be making his first appearance for the club since his superb one-season stint in 2010-11.

The Hawks kick-started their preseason campaign a fortnight ago with a 106-99 overtime win over the University of Eastern Kentucky. But they struggled without a regular point guard against the Americans, turning over possession 34 times.

"Goorj's team will be similar to EKU in terms of being a defensive-minded team and getting out and running, so it's a chance for us to get redemption for what happened last trial game," Forman said.

"Even though we came through with a win, we feel that we didn't play that well because we didn't handle their pressure.

"Next week will be a good hitout for us to focus on ourselves. It's going to be about seeing how quickly we can mesh and how everyone's learnt the plays, and how we can work out each other's playing styles."

The Wollongong Roller Hawks take on Victoria in a curtain-raiser to the main game. Tickets are on sale through the Hawks office on 4229 7722.

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