At the end of every season you ask questions of yourself as a coach. Were their things you could have done differently?
With hindsight the answer is always yes. Last season was without question the toughest I’ve had in my time as an NBL coach for various reasons.
It starts with the coach and, when you have a season like that, you of course need to look inward which I’ve certainly done.
The conclusion I reached was that, going forward, it wasn’t about reinvention but going back to a style and mentality that has always served me well
As a coach you always need to adapt your style to the personnel you have and, the last two seasons, we’ve been very offense and perimeter-orientated.
This year we’re a completely different outfit and having eight new guys with the attributes and mentality they have will take our identity back to when I’ve been more successful as a coach.
In my time in Perth, and when I was with national teams, we always won games through our defence. It’s a cliche that offense wins games but defence wins championships.
That’s what I’m expecting of this group this season. We’re going to be a lot more physical, we’re going to be a lot more aggressive, we’re going to tag-team a lot more with subs coming in and out and we’re going to play at a high tempo defensively.
We’ve called it ‘bully-ball’ and that’s how we want to play. If we do that and we’re getting stops, we’re going to be running the floor and we’re going to ram it down people’s throats.
The guys we’ve got in the back-court this season, guys like Cedric Jackson, Emmett Narr, Jordair Jett, are penetrators first and foremost so we’re going to put heat on the rim.
Inside we’ve got Brian Conklin who’s a beast, AJ’s mindset has been unbelievable through preseason and he’s going to play a lot more inside and we’ve got Dave Andersen there as well.
We’ve got physical bigs and really physical guards. When you add some great shooters in Todd Blanchfield, Tim Coenraad and Daniel Grida, it’s a well balanced team but it’s more defence-orientated.
Our time in Malaysia was great for us. You find out a lot about guys, their personalities what makes them tick and we’ve got a lot of alpha dogs in the team.
There’s some really strong personalities and they’re competitors. We’ve been tipped to come last which, again, is really disrespectful for this group.
We’ve taken that to heart. The disrespect we’ve got from the league and all the experts is pretty motivating for us.
We have chips on our shoulders. This is a blue-collar town and I think people are going to appreciate how hard we work and how hard we’re going to play.