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Rillie signs on as Wildcats coach

The Perth Wildcats have moved quickly to name Scott Morrison's successor, announcing the appointment of Australian basketball great John Rillie as head coach for the next three seasons.

The 50 year old was part of Brian Goorjian's coaching squad for the bronze medal at last year's Tokyo Olympics, having spent the past 11 years in the US College basketball system following a 16 year career in the NBL.

He was 23 when he made his league debut in 1995 with the Brisbane Bullets, where he won the NBL's Rookie of the Year award.

Rillie went on to play with the Adelaide 36ers, the West Sydney Razorbacks, the Townsville Crocodiles and the New Zealand Breakers, and also played for the Australian Boomers national team, including at the 2004 Athens Olympics.

He won an NBL title with the 36ers in 1998 and led the league in scoring average in 2003.

Rillie becomes the third coach in as many seasons for the club, after five time NBL championship winning coach Trevor Gleeson departed to take up a role with the Toronto Raptors in the NBA, Canadian coach Scott Morrison only lasting one season before resigning for family reasons last month.

The club is still searching for a Chief Executive Officer following the sacking of Troy Georgiu three weeks ago.

“For my first head coaching position, I wanted to pick a situation that was right for me. With Perth’s history and reputation, not just in the NBL, but in the Australian sporting landscape – it was like a magnet to me. I’m really excited, and I know we’re going to get great fan support from day one,” Rillie said on Monday.

“I want to play an attractive, opportunistic style offensively, but to play that way we’re going to have to be an aggressive defensive team. The mindset I had as a player, I’ll be looking to adopt that as a coach on the offensive end, but I’ll be striving to make us one of the top one or two defensive teams statistically in the NBL.”

The 2022-23 season is set to start in either late September or early October, Perth looking to return to finals after missing the post-season for the first time in 35 season this year.

IMAGE: Yahoo Sport


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