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Adelaide's elite coaches speak


CHRIS Lucas (Lightning) and Joey Wright (36ers) - two of the most successful coaches in the WNBL and NBL respectively - will lay their off-seasons bare at this month's Free Throw Foundation lunch on May 31.

Lucas is a two-time WNBL championship-winning coach with Townsville Fire and this year steered Adelaide into the Grand Final Series while winning the league's Coach of the Year nod.

Wright is a two-time NBL Coach of the Year and a championship-winning coach with Brisbane Bullets who last year steered Adelaide into the Grand Final Series.

Clearly, Adelaide has two of the sport's best coaches and there are a bucketload of questions fans will be wanting to fire at them after an eventful off-season.

The 36ers have lost Nathan Sobey to Brisbane and Majok Deng to Cairns and will not be bringing back import Demitrius Conger.

The club lost its "heart and soul" in Mitch Creek a year ago to the NBA - a path he was put on by Wright - and also Matt Hodgson to Brisbane.

Shifting home games to the Adelaide Entertainment Centre has been a huge talking point, as has the relationship between Wright and Sixers management/ownership.

Many believe it has been fractured and there also has been criticism about the 36ers' glacier-pace at signing free agents.

The Lightning's financial woes of last season did not affect Lucas' playing group which made it through to the championship and forced the best-of-three series with Canberra to go all the way.

Captain Nicole Seekamp and WNBL Defensive Player of the Year Lauren Nicholson are back for the 2019-20 go-around, with Stephanie Talbot and Natalie Novosel also back in Adelaide colours after time elsewhere.

The import signings also look exciting for Adelaide, with one announcement expected tomorrow and 2018 Halls Medallist Chelsea Brook retained as well.

But just what tangible help is Basketball SA now offering new Lightning ownership in the wake of its highly public "Make Lightning sustainable" think tank?

The Lightning Action Group coordinated by BSA has been conspicuously quiet since new ownership was announced and its time in the positive spotlight faded. The Lightning need BSA to contribute to the elite women's pathway but since that highly publicised February 1 meeting, there has been zip out of the state association's offices.

(BSA sexist? Hush your mouth with such a shocking inference!)

Wright is still in South America on holidays while Lucas, who took the Emerging Opals to Gold at the World University Games in 2017, is in Phoenix as an active observer at the Mercury's WNBA training camp which started yesterday.

Also stark on Wright's coaching resume is his ability to prepare players for the grander stage, such as for the Boomers internationally, but most notably for the NBA.

He has prepared Terrance Ferguson in 2017, Mitch Creek in 2018 and now Harry Froling in 2019 for the NBA pathway, which should continue making Adelaide an attractive destination for tyros with dreams of cracking The Show.

How does he do it? How is Lucas constructing another championship contender? The answers to those and many more questions should be clear on May 31 at the Free Throw Foundation lunch.

The FTF works exclusively to raise funds to keep our sport affordable for people on low income streams. Its lunches also bring together the basketball community in a way which had disappeared for the preceding few decades and only is approximated at Melbourne's annual Pete's Bar Lunch.

May 7

Content, unless otherwise indicated, is © copyright Boti Nagy.