Coach Zico Coronel To Lead Saints In Sal’s NBL 2020

After informing the Hawke's Bay Hawks that he wouldn't be returning in season 2020, instead looking at other opportunities, including those that may exist off-shore, highly-touted coach Zico Coronel has been snapped up by the Wellington Saints.

Coronel was assistant coach at the Saints for seven seasons before heading to take on the top job at the Hawks, now he will return to the Saints to lead the current champions after Paul Henare announced he was heading to Japan for his next coaching assignment.

Speaking with Liam Hyslop from, Coronel explained why he had decided to join the Saints instead of exploring an opportunity overseas.

"The NZ NBL clashes with the conclusion of the northern hemisphere season and then the off-season when there are a lot of professional development opportunities and opportunities for players and coaches to showcase themselves in the eyes of bigger leagues.

"I haven't been able to pursue many of those opportunities because of being involved in the NZ league. I thought this would be a good time to explore what could come of that, but in my mind there was one NBL franchise that I would stay for.

"When I was initially in that thought process, Pauli [Henare] was still the coach of the Saints and had done a fantastic job and is a tremendous coach. But then he got a great opportunity in Japan and then I heard from Jordan Mills. We talked about it and there wasn't a lot to think about."

​Wellington Saints director of basketball operations Jordan Mills said he was ecstatic to have Coronel back.

"We are really happy to have secured Zico's services. Not only is he a coach thats on the rise, but he has spent seven years with the Saints as an assistant, so we feel its great timing for him to take the head coaching role.

"Although it was sad to see Paul go, I'm extremely excited at the prospect of working with Zico again and building a championship level team to defend our title in 2020."


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