Ahead of the 2021 Sal’s NBL season, the Auckland Huskies have made two significant signings to their coaching staff. New Zealand basketball legend Dillon Boucher has been appointed Director of Basketball and Aaron Young has been given the reigns as Head Coach.
Huskies General Manager Matt Lacey is delighted to have Boucher and Young involved as the Huskies begin their player recruitment for the next NBL season.
“It’s fantastic to have a person with Dillon’s experience and standing within the game join the Huskies.
“It’s equally exciting to announce Aaron’s appointment, which aligns with the Huskies philosophy of promoting local talent.”
Lacey will be looking to one of the all-time greats of the sport in Boucher to help the Huskies establish themselves in their first full Sal’s NBL season.
“He’s done it all as a player, appearing at Olympics and World Championships. In addition he is a nine-time NBL champion and a four-time Australian NBL Champion.
“To be able to call on his knowledge on a day-to-day basis is a huge advantage for myself and the Huskies organisation”, added Lacey.
Boucher will bring a wealth of experience to the organisation as he is tasked with the strategic direction and operation of the Huskies on-court team, including the coaching staff and playing personnel.
“I see myself being able to really help the Huskies grow into a successful brand both on and off the court,” said Boucher.
“I feel I will be able to support Matt in his role as GM and also the incoming head coach. I can help put in support networks to help both of them succeed.
“I’ll have a very strong hand in the Huskies on court performance and development and also recruitment. In addition I’ll also provide mentoring for the head coach. I’ll also do some hands on coaching as well.
“The Huskies have a very clear plan to develop local players and implement development pathways that will bring players through to the top team.
“I will certainly play a part in that and I think being able to have a pathway for Auckland players to move from high school to a development programme through to the Huskies is a great prospect.
The former Tall Black and Breakers General Manager has hit the ground running.
“Right now it’s about planning, working on what players fit in to the roster and what style of basketball we will be able to play.”
The Huskies are looking forward to Aaron Young taking the lead as Head Coach for the 2021 Sal’s NBL Season.
Young was an assistant to Kevin Braswell during the 2020 Sal’s NBL season but steps into the head coach role with immediate effect.
“I’m really honoured and thrilled that Matt, Dillon and the Huskies ownership group have taken a chance on me as the Head Coach,” said Young.
“I’m extremely excited to take on the challenge and I’m looking forward to next year which will hopefully be somewhat normal.”
Young accepts that he will be building a roster almost from scratch.
“It’s a relatively new franchise so building a roster will be an exciting part of the journey as it’s essentially year one. We had the shortened Sal’s NBL this year but that had the draft system that had players to recruit right in front of you.
“I see it as the first year of the franchise in Auckland and that’s exciting as I think there is a lot of talent in the city.
“I think an important part of the franchise is looking locally – we have so much good talent here so for me that’s where I will be looking first.
“We will look at young players but also some seasoned players who may want to rejuvenate their careers and then there are guys who have experience at a very high level – finding that mix will be the key.
“I haven’t been around the scene for too long but I like to think I have developed some good relationships so I think a big part of the Huskies success will be strengthening those positive
bonds with different coaches, community partners and players to ensure that the Huskies brand continues to grow.”
The 29-year old played high school basketball at Rangitoto College and moved into the coaching ranks immediately after finishing school.
“I was assistant coach to Rangitoto’s Premier Team Coach Lawrence Lianda in my first year out of school in 2010,” said Young.
Young has undertaken a variety of coaching roles in the past ten years. He was the video Co-ordinator at the New Zealand Breakers, has NBL assistant coach experience with Wellington Saints, two cycles with New Zealand Age-Group teams (currently an assistant coach with the Junior Tall Blacks) and is Head Coach of the St Kentigern College Premier Team – 2019 New Zealand Secondary School Champions.
Young is also appreciative that he will be working closely with Huskies Director of Basketball Dillon Boucher.
“I’m looking forward to learning from one of the great basketball minds in New Zealand basketball.
“I’m extremely grateful to him for jumping onboard to mentor me. I’ll be able to work with him every day, have some really good basketball conversations and ultimately move the Huskies in the right direction, said Young.
Boucher has witnessed first-hand Young’s work at the Breakers and St Kentigern College.
“Aaron has been in and around the game at the highest level for a number of years.
“He’s worked at the Breakers, worked with the Tall Blacks, with New Zealand junior programmes and in high school basketball.
“So it’s nice to see him get the opportunity to be the head coach of a top level team.
“The Huskies are about developing local talent – Aaron has certainly done his time at other levels so he deserves to have a chance to step up to the next level.
“I’m looking forward to mentoring Aaron and helping him succeed,” added Boucher.
Young believes he has signed on with the interest in the NBL greatly heightened.
“The publicity engendered this year by the draft, the TV deals with ESPN, and the international exposure has all been good for the NBL. These are exciting times to be the head coach as we build and grow the Huskies and the League.”
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