Boomers coach welcomes Kiwi invasion - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Boomers coach welcomes Kiwi invasion

By Laine Clark 06/03/2003 04:50:33 PM Comments (0)

Boomers coach Brian Goorjian has welcomed the addition of a team from arch-rival New Zealand to the NBL, saying it will jolt Australian basketball out of its "comfort zone".

An Auckland-based team is set to join the national league next season, expanding the competition from 11 teams to 12, NBL chief executive Peter Ali announced.

The new team will be run by New Zealand consortium Proteam Holdings, which in December bid for the faltering Canberra Cannons' licence then relinquished it.

The move means New Zealand players will no longer be considered "imports" in the league.

It's also certain to provide a strong platform for already powerful New Zealand national team's Athens 2004 Olympic campaign.

The Boomers have reason to be wary of the gathering threat from the "Tall Blacks" after they sensationally toppled Australia last year to qualify for the world championships where they placed fourth, ahead of the USA.

But Goorjian, who took over the national team reins after that loss, welcomed the arrival of a Kiwi club team in the NBL, saying it would boost the Boomers' bid to return to the top echelon of world basketball.

"I think it puts pressure on Australian basketball and I think that's what they need," said Goorjian, who also coaches NBL minor premier the Sydney Kings.

"We've fallen into a comfort zone. We need to have a strong competition and the fact that New Zealand is strong...it's going to be great for Australian basketball.

"We need a good competition, that's when the Australian national team was at its strongest.

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