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Kelly tipped to lead Orangemen

MELBOURNE United assistant coach and a 346-game NBL veteran as a player, Mike Kelly, is the hot tip to succeed Aaron Fearne as coach of the Cairns Taipans.

Kelly, who averaged 10.2ppg, 3.9rpg and 3.3apg across a storied NBL career as first an import, then naturalised swingman at Hobart Devils, South East Melbourne Magic, Victoria Titans, Townsville Crocodiles and Wollongong (now Illawarra) Hawks, was most noted for his defensive capabilities.

He twice won the NBL Best Defensive Player award (in 1997, 1998), won a championship with the Magic in 1996 and was named Larry Sengstock Medallist as the Grand Final series MVP.

Returning to the US to start out on his coaching career, Kelly came back to Australia and assisted Shawn Dennis at Townsville Crocodiles before joining United’s staff as Dean Demopoulos’ lead assistant.

He continued this season-past alongside new Melbourne head coach Dean Vickerman and is ready to take on the hotseat.

Top candidates such as Tall Blacks and former Breakers coach Paul Henare and former Townsville coach Shawn Dennis – now coaching in Japan – are believed to have turned down the opportunity to take the reins in Cairns.

Apr 13

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