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Look out! Here comes the new Euroleague

THE exciting new East Asia Super League has aspirations to become the Pacific region's equivalent of the Euroleague and by luring former Illawarra Hawks NBL coach Brian Goorjian to coach the Bay Area Dragons, it already is off to a flyer.

This quickly will become a league of which the NBL not only will need to be aware but also prepared to play its top clubs in and be part of it.

The EASL will include teams from mainland China, Chinese Taipei, Hong Kong SAR, Japan, Korea, Macau SAR and the Philippines, Goorjian signing on for two years as the league launches.

His former assistant coach through many NBL and Asian campaigns, Bill Tomlinson, also has jumped aboard, informing friends on Facebook of his decision.

"We’re getting the Band (left) back together," he wrote. "Looking forward to working with Brian for the next two years at the Bay Area Dragons. Exciting time coaching in the inaugural season of the EASL."

Goorjian had plenty of incisive things to say about the new league's potential when he guested on the Brad&Boti podcast last week, if you want a quick recap here.

The Dragons - by the way, he won his last NBL championship with the Dragons - are rapt to have secured Australia's GOAT of pro coaching.

"I am honoured to be appointed as the Bay Area Dragons’ head coach, and I am looking forward to the challenge. Being the first guest club in the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) in two decades while competing in the premier league in Asia, East Asia Super League, is an exciting prospect," Goorjian said.

In March, the Bay Area Dragons and the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) announced the newly established Dragons would make Manila their temporary home for East Asia Super League home-and-away games across the region and join the PBA for the Commissioner’s Cup as a guest team.

This was due to COVID-induced travel-related obstacles in the Dragons’ home city of Hong Kong SAR.

“Brian Goorjian is one of the best coaches in the world and holds a deep understanding of Asian basketball. Without a doubt, he will make this club very competitive. He’s developed some of the best players in Asia and coached the best teams. Goorjian’s accolades speak for themselves,” East Asia Super League (EASL) CEO Matt Beyer said.

Goorjian has played an integral role in the development of Asian basketball, coaching in the China Basketball Association (CBA) for more than a decade and winning nearly 70 per cent of his games.

He became the first ever foreign Coach of the Year during the 2013-2014 CBA season and also spent time with the Chinese and Japanese national teams. 

“The Dragons are very fortunate to have such a talented coach for their first year. I know Brian personally and I’ve seen him coaching first-hand. He will be a strong fit for the new club and I’m excited to compete against him in the PBA and perhaps in the EASL as well,” said Philippine national team and TNT Tropang Giga head coach Chot Reyes.

Goorjian has won a record six NBL championships as a head coach at South East Melbourne Magic, Sydney Kings and South Dragons, but his crowning accomplishment was steering the Australian team to the Bronze Medal at the Tokyo Olympics.

The EASL will change the tone of the region's basketball - for the better - which is why the NBL must keep a keen eye on it as a place for its top teams to also compete.

In Illawarra, Goorjian's long-time assistant Jacob Jackomas has been upgraded to succeed his mentor.

May 23

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