One of Coastal basketball’s favourite sons will return to lead the North-West Tall Timbers Thunder. Sam Armstrong was on Thursday announced as the new coach of the Thunder for the 2017 season, replacing Phil Thomas in the role.
Thomas has coached the side for the last seven years and led them to back-to-back preliminary finals in 2014 and 2015 before failing to make the finals this year.
Armstrong has experience in the role having led as a playing coach for the Thunder in 2009 and 2010 and said he jumped at the opportunity to return.
“I felt like I was ready to coach at this level again and it really excites me to have an opportunity to do that,” Armstrong said.
“I think the team have made some real improvements and there is also a very exciting age demographic in the team and they are a very exciting prospect.
“There’s a real core group of guys in that 19 to 25 age group and they’ve been really enticing to watch.”
The former NWBU coach with Burnie said he expected a lot to chance in the style of play as well as his role in charge but he had clear intentions in mind already.
“The game has changed a lot since I was last involved. I’ve continued to learn and I’ve given myself every chance and what I’ve done behind the scenes puts me in good stead I think. Right now there are a lot of things we will sit down and have a look at now in terms of recruits. But I will look to recruit a group that fits the style of basketball I coach. We will certainly try to play an exciting style of basketball and I already have a clear view of how I want us to play at the offensive and defensive ends.”
Still in the early stages of his role, Armstrong said he wasn’t sure if he would look to keep the current group of recruits such as Garrett Jackson and Gary Johnson.
“We are not sure at this stage. I’ve had conversations with Nick Haywood who will come on as assistant coach and that’s one thing we will put a lot of time into on which way we want to go moving forward. But we will also talk to the local guys and the main focus now is to retain as many of them as we can and look for other locals who may be good enough for this level.”
Armstrong said with everything happening so quickly from here he was just excited the process was beginning.