Dean Vickerman hopes to replicate Breakers success in Melbourne

Dean Vickerman is keen to translate the skills he learnt from the highly successful New Zealand Breakers teams into his new role as Melbourne United head coach.

The former championship winning coach at the Breakers brings a wealth of NBL knowledge to United, something they didn’t have with former headman, Dean Demopoulos.

Vickerman coached New Zealand to their 2014/15 title, while serving as an assistant in the three prior championships the Breakers won, and he hopes to bring those same foundations to Melbourne.

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“We had fantastic ownership,” Vickerman said of the Breakers, on SEN’s The Run Home.

“It was family and they built a great culture, and set up a values system that everybody lived. It was an enjoyable place, they were so supportive of people and wanted to see everyone succeed.

“I want to bring some of that to United, where we really care for people, look at their goals, try to help people succeed and bring this basketball community in Melbourne and Victoria together. There are so many knowledgeable people that play the game.

“Although I was a Tiger, I was also a North Melbourne Giant, and a Geelong Supercat. Now we just have this one team, hopefully everyone can get behind it. I thought Hisense Arena was one of the funnest places to play at last season.”

One of the beliefs that Vickerman hopes to implement includes that of an involved decision-making process in constructing the roster. Along with the thoughts of his assistants, the ideas of the four current United players under contract – Chris Goulding, David Andersen, Majok Majok and Tai Wesley – will be key drivers in choosing who to sign for the upcoming campaign.

“We have four players under contract,” Vickerman said.

“I reached out to all of them to let them know I got the job and to organise a catch-up as soon as possible. I want their involvement and input into how we put this roster together. Hopefully we can do that next week, then free agency starts, so you need to look at the local part of our roster.

“We had two fantastic imports last year in Casper Ware and Josh Boone, two guys who we certainly want to have a conversation with again.”

Melbourne had a revolving door of international imports last season, including the aforementioned Ware and Boone, along with Ramone Moore, Devin Williams and Lasan Kromah. One of the similarities in that group is they’re all American, a trend that is noticeable among NBL imports.

Vickerman believes this isn’t a coincidence, and doesn’t think the inclination to sign Americans over say, European prospects, will change.

“We still don’t stack up financially as well, that if you go and recruit a kid out of Serbia, they still probably won’t leave for the amount they can get back home,” Vickerman said.

“It’s been done before that an import came out to Townsville years ago from Lithuania and he was pretty successful, but I don’t think there’s a lot of coaches looking at that space.”

United is pinning its hopes of a turnaround on Vickerman, after they endured an at-times tumultuous 2016/17 campaign. With free agency now officially open, the pressure is already on him to deliver some success to one of the NBL’s most loaded commodities.