The Auckland Huskies have increased their coaching arsenal by announcing the appointment of seven-time NBL Champion, Lindsay Tait as an Assistant Coach for the upcoming Sal’s NBL Showdown.
The former Tall Black and NBL legend joins Kevin Braswell and Aaron Young in the Huskies ‘Think Tank’ with immediate effect.
Tait is currently Head Coach of the Auckland Grammar School Premier Team and an assistant coach to Aaron Fearne with the Junior Tall Blacks.
However it’s his prowess as a point guard during a 20-year playing career that most remember Tait for.
He was a dominant force in the NBL from his debut in 2000 to his retirement in 2019. He appeared in ten Grand Finals, winning seven championship titles and was named Outstanding Kiwi Guard no less than nine times.
In addition Tait played in the Australian NBL for Victoria Giants, NZ Breakers, Wollongong Hawks and Cairns Taipans.
He enjoyed a 12-year career in the Tall Blacks between 2003 and 2015, playing a lead role at the 2010 and 2014 FIBA World Championships.
Huskies General Manager Matt Lacey couldn’t be more pleased with the appointment.
“I’ve known Lindsay for a while coaching against him and also with him in the New Zealand High Performance Programme.
“He was one of New Zealand’s all-time great points guard. He will be able to impart some of the vast amount of knowledge he has acquired to our predominantly young playing group.
Tait is happy to have joined the Huskies and to be linking up with some familiar faces.
“To have a team back here in Auckland is pretty exciting. I’ve been involved in the League since I was in high school,” said the Avondale College alumnus.
“Having the Franklin Bulls is exciting but to have the Auckland Huskies come back in is great.
“I’ve had a long working relationship with Matt, although it’s slightly different having him as the boss now,” he quipped.
“I also know Aaron well, as along with Matt, the three of us have worked together with the Junior Tall Blacks.
“I used to have the nightmare of trying to mark KB (Kevin Braswell) back in the day and I think we have earned each other’s respect over the years. I’ve had the privilege of playing under him and also working alongside him so it was a no-brainer to jump on board and support the cause,” said the 121-game Tall Blacks veteran.
Tait understands their have been concerns in some quarters with the format of the NBL this season.
“I’ve played in what you could call the full version of the NBL so I understand where some people are coming from.
“For me, having been removed from the playing side for a while now, I see things with a big picture lens. I understand what this is about, it’s aimed to keeping the New Zealand NBL alive and about giving some of these young brothers a chance to showcase what they have got.
“I know it won’t be perfect but I’m excited looking at the glass half-full and giving back to a league that I’m very passionate about,”
Tait is also looking forward to growing his coaching experience over the coming weeks.
“Having a National League environment to immerse yourself in for six or seven weeks is only a positive for a young coach. I enjoy working with youth and some of these players are only just out of the school system, so it’s interesting to work with them and see where they are at with their growth.
“I’d like to think that with some of the experiences I’ve had over the years I might be able to get in their ears and just help them with some of the little ideas they can take with them to wherever they go beyond this season.”
The start of the Sal’s NBL coincides with the commencement of the Auckland Secondary Schools Premier competition. Young (St Kentigern College), Lacey (Rosmini College) and Tait (Auckland Grammar School) will all have to juggle their commitments during this hectic six week spell.
“For everyone involved it’s going to be a very busy time. Matt, Aaron and myself are all very lucky that we have good support networks within our schools.
“We can lean on each other if need be to keep things ticking over with our young fellas at school and also give the Huskies the best chance possible to compete for Auckland.”
That chance is not far away with the Auckland Huskies opening game against Canterbury Rams at Trusts Arena scheduled for Tuesday June 23rd, tip-off 7.30pm.