The Sydney Kings have today announced at a CBD press conference that head coach Ian “Moose” Robilliard has been re-signed for the 2011/12 season. After enduring a season that has seen the team survive a 14 game losing streak, Moose has been retained due to his ability to build a strong team culture, with the team in fine form leading into next season.

Sydney Kings’ Team Committee Chairman, Max Schroder, said that the Board had unanimously (13-0) decided to renew Robilliard’s contract for a second season to continue his success in what he described as a building year for the team.

“Moose had a very short time-frame to engage and train the Sydney Kings roster for the 2010/11 season. The Board is of the opinion that he deserved an opportunity to build on the success he and the rest of the team fostered in the latter part of the current season,” Schroder said.

“It is only because of the belief and commitment of our ownership group, a dedicated support team, and predominantly Ian Robilliard and the players — sometimes in very trying circumstances — that we have finished our first season back in the NBL with our pride intact and the respect of the fans and wider basketball community”, Turner said.

“A lesser coach, more focused on a trophy than having the determination to rebuild a club from scratch, and implement culture that is vital to the long-term success of the Sydney Kings, I doubt would have made the distance,” he added.

Robilliard expressed his enthusiasm at building the team in a second season. Given that star Julian Khazzouh is the only player currently signed for 2011/12, the process can now begin in building the roster for next season, given that the coach is now on board. Robilliard described it as a “chicken and egg situation” in signing the coach and negotiating with players in contract renewals and approaching free agents.

The coach admits that the point guard position has been a weakness for the team this season — primarily due to injuries — but dismisses the idea that signing an import floor general is the only way in the NBL, preferring to steer clear of some of the swagger-laden import point guards who have made names for themselves in the league. In fact, with Robilliard having been an Australian point guard himself, he believes that there are plenty of homegrown options around the traps.

All current members of the Kings roster (and their agents) will be talked to by the management team regarding contract renewals for next season and their future aspirations. There are likely to be some changes to the roster, but Robilliard and Turner stop short of signalling wholesale changes. Moose is a big fan of NSW players, with a view to continuing the local flavour of the roster, which already includes Sydney-area products Khazzouh, Graeme Dann, Luke Martin, Ben Knight and numerous others. 

Robilliard’s emphasis on the concept of “mutuality” has been embraced by the team as the course of the season has worn on. His philosophy revolves around watching each others’ backs and looking out for the best interests of the team above those of the individual. The play of the team in their past 10 games would indicate that the team has taken on their head coach’s mentality, forming a positive bond for their second season together.

The Kings have an on-court goal of making the playoffs in their second season. Given their play in the second half of the season, there is little doubt that they can achieve that with some tweaks to the roster. Off the court, the ownership group is pleased with the financial stability in place. Their goal is to become profitable by the end of their third season. On that track, the team expects to secure a naming rights sponsor by the beginning of the 2011/12 season, with an advertising agency currently on that project.

Khazzouh is a fine cornerstone for this team and will no doubt assist in attracting free agents to the Kings this off-season, as will the culture that the coach has fostered. Look out for an exclusive interview with Khazzouh here at A Stern Warning tomorrow.