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John Rillie on Potential NBL Coaching Career

Former Townsville Crocodiles captain John Rillie says he has never been contacted about coaching in the NBL.

Rillie had a long and successful career in the NBL, winning a championship in 1998, winning the scoring title in 2003 and being crowned Rookie of the Year in 1995. He has since transitioned into coaching, serving as an assistant at Boise State from 2011-2017 and currently as an assistant at UC Santa Barbara.

Despite his strong background in Australian basketball, the Queensland native has told NBL Rewind he has never been approached by an NBL team.

“This is where some people may say I am arrogant or whatever, but this is just how I have lived my life - if I am good enough someone will reach out at some stage,” Rillie said.

“No one has ever contacted me about coaching in the NBL.

“I’m going to say in Australia most people think I am comfortable and happy coaching college basketball, which I love helping kids that age and developing them and telling them some home truths about professional sport isn’t as easy as you think it is.”

However, Rillie did admit he is much better equipped to be an NBL coach now than he was when he began his coaching career. 

“As far as Australian basketball and me coaching, I got to play for my country, I played the majority of my career in my home country. When I got done, I tried to make coaching work at home, but I had to come to the US,” Rillie said.

“Not all is bad with that because I got to watch Chris Anstey go from player to coach and the one thing I took from that is you probably have to distance yourself from being a player and a coach.

“Now I look at it and go, I have distanced myself.

“I went to a couple of NBL practices last year when I was back home and people are like what is this guy in here doing watching. I don’t have many guys left that would associate with me as a player in the league which I think is good.”

Listen to the NBL Rewind podcast every Thursday night from 6:30pm AEST. Each week, Cam Luke and Liam Santamaria are joined by a special guest to relive some of the greatest moments in NBL history. Available on Spotify, Apple Podcasts and YouTube.  

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