Two names synonymous with the Melbourne Tigers are heading north to take over the coaching of the Sydney Kings. One, part of a family rich in Tigers history and the other, a star player with his name and singlet hanging in the rafters. Both, former teammates with one of the greatest connections on a basketball court you will ever see.
Andrew Gaze and Lanard Copeland are the new coaches of the Sydney Kings.
Gaze played 612 games over 20 years for the Tigers, winning the National Basketball League Most Valuable Player Award a record seven times during that time. Copeland played 532 games in his NBL years across three teams BUT played 449 of those games alongside Gaze. He also won a Grand Final MVP award, coming in 1997.
Both have also been coaching in the Big V competition in recent years, with Gaze coaching the Melbourne Tigers side in their return to the South East Australian Basketball League (SEABL) as of this past weekend.
Joining them is Dean Vickerman, former coach of the New Zealand Breakers who has a very good CV from his time in the sport. He was an assistant at the Breakers for six years, the Melbourne Tigers for two years, the New Zealand Men’s Team (the Tall Blacks) and is also a championship winning coach in not just the NBL but the New Zealand National Basketball League as well.
The Kings haven’t just seen a change in their coaching ranks, they are also under new ownership with AEG Ogden taking majority ownership of the team. Allphones Arena in Olympic Park is also the new primary home venue for the Kings (AEG Ogden also has an interest in the venue), a secondary home venue looks to be the International Convention Centre.
With only two players from last season under contract (Julian Khazzouh and Jeromie Hill), the Kings ownership will be looking forward to the combination of Gaze, Copeland and Vickerman landing some big blows in the free agency and recruitment period.
We’ve already seen the beginning of that with Kevin Lisch choosing not to re-sign with the Illawarra Hawks and instead making his way to join the Kings.
While it will be very strange seeing Gaze and Copeland in Kings colours, there is no doubt that even though they aren’t suiting up on the court that they will be big drawcards for the Kings.