Cyclones get their man
WHILE the experience of coming as far north as Rockhampton is new for Heath Millar, his background in basketball, and the women's game in particular, should make him feel at home with the Hog's Breath Cafe Cyclones this season.
Millar was unveiled as the Cyclones 2012 coach yesterday and said the work in building the team roster was already in hand.
He said reports Nicole Romeo will play her QBL season further north, once her commitment to Townsville in the WBNL is over, are premature.
"We are still in discussions with her," he said. "We are out to go and get her back."
That is good news for Cyclones fans, as much of the Cyclones game revolved around the live-wire point guard with her ability to accumulate points from both field play and three pointers.
The 29-year-old Millar joins the Cyclones from Victorian team Frankston Blues where he was an assistant coach last season for the team's SEABL (South East Australian Basketball League) program.
"I've spent the last five or six years operating in the women's side of the game," he said.
"Before that I worked with the men, but to me basketball is basketball."
He said while the male players have the power and athletic skills, the women make up for this by having superior technique.
Millar said a quality point guard is one of the key positions to be filled by an experienced player and remains hopeful it is Romeo suiting up for the Cyclones again this year.
Another area where he wants experience and drive is in a forward position.
Tegan Cunningham supplied this last year until leaving the club, and a player as competitive as her under the basket at either end of the court would be ideal.
"You've got to have players who can rebound and score inside the paint," he said.
The new coach said his personal background in the Victoria competition might assist recruiting, but that would be a bonus.
"Certainly some of the State League players are a possibility, but there is a difficulty with re-locating," he said.
"We will be putting feelers out, but looking at players in the WNBL first."
Millar, who is originally from Invercargill at the bottom of New Zealand's South Island, has started looking through tapes from the Cyclones of last season and is aware there are local players pushing for spots on the playing roster.
"From what I've seen there are two or three already in the program," he said.
The coach said players Grace McDougall, Chloe Morrow and Mikaela King will have their chance to shine, although in most cases he still expects to see the best from such players in a year or two.
Darren Richardson could hardly be accused of being a new face on the local basketball scene, having been with the Rockets program since 1988, but he has taken on a new responsibility and will be the club's QBL spokesman.
Richardson admits that when he finished playing he was still keen to stay in the program with the Rockets and has acted in various capacities such as assistant coach to Neal Tweedy.
"When I finished playing I didn't want to give up the involvement," he said
While he is ready to take a similar position with the Rockets again, should he be required, Richardson has decided to put all those years of experience to good use and assist in keeping the Rockets and Cyclones brand moving forward.
"We like to put on a good show," he said describing match day at Hegvold Stadium.
"A lot of people who don't even like basketball but enjoy the show."
Match night is always fun and Richardson said that is why so many supporters and sponsors return year after year.
"We still have to keep moving with the times. We have to keep improving our product."