A new board has swept in to rebuild the Nelson Giants.
Ownership of the Mike Pero Nelson Giants has been held by a company called Nelson Giants 1993 Ltd, which was 90 per cent owned by former star player and coach Nenad Vucinic, with the other 10 per cent by the Nelson Basketball Association.
The company endured a tough 2017 with a lack of income from gaming trusts and community trusts meaning there was little money for players, leading to a disappointing season on the court with the Giants finishing sixth out of seven teams.
But that company has now been dissolved with ownership of the Giants, which plays in the National Basketball League, gifted to a trust called the Basketball Development Nelson Trust.
The trust is charged with funding and delivering a “range of quality coaching programmes plus community engagement” in Nelson and well as “responsible for ensuring the Giants continue and for appointing directors [for the Giants]”.
Reporting to that trust will sit a six-person board responsible for the governance and strategy of the Giants, headed by Nelson City councillor and former Giants coach Bill Dahlberg.
Other directors include Nelmac CEO Lee Babe, Richmond businessman Richard Inglis, lawyer Dene Gavin and former school principal and city councillor Allison McAlpine.
Bill says the goal of the new structure is to ensure the Giants have a long-term sustainable model.
He says the entire organisation has been looked over, including the lack of the Wannabe cheer squad last year and how to best get value for sponsors.
“The first step was getting a quality coach, we’ve done that with Jamie Pearlman. That shows our intent to now get quality players. And if you have a winning team people will come and watch. We get really good crowds when we’re not winning. If we start winning again we’ll pack the place.”
Bill says six players are contracted to the Giants for next season and discussions for last year’s star point guard Kyle Adman and local star forward Finn Delaney are advanced.
“Then we need some big men. We know we’re missing some bulk and size in that centre forward role so we’ve targeted two 6 foot 9 inch 110kg power forwards.”
He says the rest of the team will be made up of locals like Sam Dempster, Tom Ingham, Ali Granger and Bronson Beri.
“This all comes back to the coach. If you get a great coach – and Coach Pearlman is a 9 out of 10 – then our local players will get better and improve themselves and that’s what we need. People say sport should be fun, but losing is no fun. If you’re getting better and improving your skills that’s where it starts, because if you’re doing that you will start winning and that is fun.”
Bill says he hopes to announce player signings over the coming weeks.
“We’ve had good discussions with players and their agents but it’s also about working in with who’s available. The NBL is being moved forward a month next year so some players are still tied up with other teams in other leagues, it’s about getting access to the players we want.”
“But the team we have got shadowed right now… we think we have a very talented team. Very exciting. The catch now is that we need to land them all.”