13/04/2024

Brian Goorjian returns home to Sydney, where he won four championships as coach. (Image: Za Rathie, Sydney Kings)

Legendary Australian coach Brian Goorjian has accepted the coaching position of the Sydney Kings for three years.

Regarded as one of the greatest coaches in Australian basketball history, the mastermind returns to the franchise whom he won three consecutive titles with from 2003 to 2005, and a fourth in 2008.

He also led defunct clubs South East Melbourne Magic to two championships (1992, 1996), and South Dragons to a championship in 2009.

The Kings are coming off a disappointing NBL24 campaign, where the team couldn’t establish consistency after going 7-3 in its first 10 games.

After seeing their season end on their home floor against the New Zealand Breakers last Wednesday night, Kings management wasted minimal time departing with first-year coach Mahmoud Abdelfattah.

In his presser, Goorjian says the plan was always to return home to Australia after coaching in China for the best part of a decade.

“I want to coach in Australia again. But I want to go somewhere I felt like I was needed and wanted. And the fact that Sydney has done so tremendously,” Goorjian said.

“Like I wake up at night now and open my eyes and go “Oh, God can this be true? And I just feel so fortunate that the timing’s right.

“I feel like two things that are important to me. I feel wanted. I feel like you’re happy that I’m here and that I’m going to be good for the organisation.

“And for me, it’s coming home. It’s finishing off my basketball in the best city in Australia, in the strongest franchise.”

Known for his tough uncompromising defence, Goorjian in recent years has added an up tempo style of play, more recently with the Australian Boomers at last year’s FIBA championship.

But overall, he wants the team to compete with defensive intensity every night to generate the right outcome.

“I think setting the standards in the beginning is so important because planning that seed, what the culture is, wanting to be a King, wanting to play for the future is important, the Kings,” Goorjian said.

“And I think a big element just to start with is that seeing a team that’s going to just bleed for the colours and bleed for the uniform, play hard, play hard at both ends of the floor, be passionate and want to be a King.

“And I feel like if you set those standards early and the exciting part about this is we have an open book.

“We can go out and select people now. We’re not committed to too many. So the opportunities there.”

With the three-year deal under his belt, Goorjian says he has no plans in “bouncing”.

“I’ve done the overseas. I had that dream of the EASL (East Asia Super League) and that’s why I left and make Australia part of that,” Goorjian said.

“And now coming back and that finishing up and coming back, this is my last one and I want to make, I want to finish a King.

“I don’t know whether it’s going to be five years or ten years or three years or whatever. But I’ll know when it’s done and right now I have huge energy. And I want to finish my coaching at a King.”

More Basketball News

Sydney Kings owner Paul Smith says Goorjian’s combination “talent” and “knowledge” made the decision a straightforward one to bring him back to the Kings, 16 years after last coaching the franchise.

“Bringing Brian back which is really the important thing is that he first into an overarching plan for basketball in Sydney and New South Wales,” Smith said.

“We’ve got very ambitious plans for basketball and that includes then imminent beginning of the construction of our High Performance Centre at Auburn, funded by the State Government and Cumberland City Council, which is the first dedicated facility of it’s type in Australia for professional basketball which is enormously exciting and creates ambition.

“Brian fits so perfectly into the equation for us to help lead our team on court, lead our organisation in that regard, and create an environment in which young people want to play basketball.”

Goorjian’s first task beforehand is leading the Australian Men’s basketball team to the Paris Olympics from July 26 – August 11, with the hopes of claiming the Gold Medal, after winning Bronze at the Tokyo Olympics.

About Author