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  • Writer's pictureSportFM

Wildcats appoint Roth replacement

Veteran NBA assistant coach Bob Thornton will join the franchise as a lead senior assistant to Trevor Gleeson for the remainder of the NBL21 season, the club confirmed on Wednesday.

Thornton replaces Scott Roth, who will depart the role in March having signed as the Tasmanian Jack Jumpers inaugural coach earlier this month.

Thornton has 35 years of professional basketball experience, both as a coach and a player.

He was assistant coach at the Sacramento Kings from 2016 to 2019, and prior to that spent five seasons at the Memphis Grizzlies, helping steer them to the 2013 Western Conference Finals.

The American also held assistant coach positions at the Minnesota Timberwolves and Chicago Bulls, and was an advance scout at the Oklahoma City Thunder and Seattle Super Sonics.

Thornton is thrilled to be heading to Perth.

“I know the Wildcats have a long, successful history and I’ve known Trevor (Gleeson) a long time, and he’s a great coach, so I’m really looking forward to working with him and everybody down there,” he said.

“I’m a Jack of all trades when it comes to coaching, but I have a specialty of working with the bigs - the power forwards and centres. I think if you’re not evolving with the game, you’re really falling behind. This game changes every year, every season.

“I’m really looking forward to seeing the pace of play and how things are different down in the NBL so I can become a better coach and help these kids be the best they can be.

“I just want to come in, support these guys and win another title.”

Trevor Gleeson said he’s looking forward to teaming-up with Thornton again, after they first connected 20 years ago.

“I first met Bob at a basketball camp in Las Vegas in 2000 and we have built a relationship over the past 20 years. We always catch up at the NBA Summer League where he has helped us with intel on import players and the latest tactics from the NBA.” he said.

“I’ve been chasing him for a couple of years to come out here and he’s always been in the NBA, but the stars have finally aligned.

“He’s a great workout guy on the court. He has that experience as an NBA player and coach and he relates very well with the players. We are happy that Bob is joining us at such a short notice.”

Prior to beginning his coaching career, Thornton spent 11 years in the NBA as a player for the New York Knicks, Philadelphia 76ers, Minnesota Timberwolves, Utah Jazz and Washington Bullets.

Perth return to the court this Friday for their second meeting against the South East Melbourne Phoenix, having beaten them 88-76 in their first game of the season last Sunday.


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