September 21, 2018 | WNBL news

Left to Right: Paul Goriss, Carly Wilson and Phil Brown

With over 350 games and more than 18 years of coaching experience, Phil Brown is no stranger to the expectations and pressures of professional sport, having assisted in the development of some of Australia’s biggest names in women’s basketball.

Currently the Basketball ACT’s Head of High Performance and Coaching Development, Brown will be returning to the bench with the University of Canberra Capitals for the 2018/19 Chemist Warehouse WNBL season.

When asked about the timing of his return, Brown admitted that while he never stopped ‘coaching’, returning to the league was an easy decision when approached by long-time friend and UC Capitals head coach Paul Goriss.

“I was initially approached to come on board as an assistant coach, particularly to assist during his absence during the pre-season with his national team duties with the Chemist Warehouse Australian Opals at the World Cup,” Brown explained.

“I was thankful to the Basketball ACT board for their support to allow me to help out. It’s exciting for me to get back involved.”

“I’ve really enjoyed the last three weeks of pre-season work with the girls. We’ve still got a number of players to come into the team, but they have all been really receptive and working with elite athletes is always really exciting.”

Brown, who coached the Australian Institute of Sport to their only WNBL Championship in 1999, has seen some big changes to the league over the years, the WNBL becoming one of the most well respected professional leagues.

And with talent and popularity driving the quality of the competition, Brown understands the upcoming season would be no different, 2018/19 set to be more competitive than ever.

“For me, for a few years, to sit on the outside and look in and observe the WNBL you can see the development of the league,” said Brown.

“There’s more imports and big talents in the league than there was back 20 years ago. Every team has those one or two WNBA players, or Opals and a number of highly experienced, senior veteran type players.”

“The depth of talent is much greater now in the league. The skill level and the athleticism is arguably greater. The WNBL is highly respected and regarded around the world as one of the top leagues in the world.”

Less than a month out from the start of the season, Brown and his fellow coaches have quite an extensive amount of basketball IQ at their disposal with an abundance of big names set to take to the court for the UC Capitals this season.

Marianna Tolo, Leilani Mitchell and Kristy Wallace will also be returning to the WNBL this season after spending time overseas, while Kelsey Griffin and veteran Kelly Wilson have also been recruited for 2018.

“Speaking for Paul (Goriss), I think the feeling was the last couple of seasons the team lacked that little bit extra experience and veteran element,” Brown said.

“Now we’ve got that nice balance with the younger players such as Maddison Rocci, Keely Froling and Lauren Scherf and that list of veterans. But we’ve got a really great balance there not just across age but also positions.”

“Kia Nurse can also play that point guard spot while also as a small forward so we have that real versatility and blend of experience of Olympians, WNBA, European leagues as well as WNBL.”

Having recruited Kelly Wilson at aged 17, the return to the bench has allowed the experienced coach to not only reconnect with talented athletes but has also helped reignite his passion for the league and basketball.

“It’s been fun. I learn a lot from these players and coaches as well,” Brown explained.

“Even having Carly (Wilson) as a member of the coaching staff, that rapport she has with the players whether it be the senior veterans or the young ones, she really brings a nice balance. It’s just great and I think it’s going to be a really good team of coaching staff.”

“I’m really excited to work with Paul (Goriss) and Carly (Wilson) and hopefully have a really successful season.”

The UC Capitals will be on the road for round one when they travel to Sydney and face the Brydens Sydney Uni Flames to top off the 2018/19 Chemist Warehouse WNBL season.

Photo Courtesy University of Canberra Capitals