Net ef­fect not all about court time

Stirling Times - - News -

NIK Lack­ovic is con­tin­u­ing to teach the im­por­tance of men­tal health among young bas­ket­ballers af­ter los­ing a close friend at the start of his coach­ing ca­reer.

The Perth Red­backs and Hale School di­rec­tor of bas­ket­ball was ap­pointed the North of the River coach for the an­nual State Bas­ket­ball League (SBL) All Star Game on June 5 at the Ben­dat Bas­ket­ball Cen­tre in Floreat.

The char­ity game is co-or­gan­ised by Bas­ket­ball WA and Life­line WA, with funds raised go­ing to­wards sui­cide preven­tion ser­vices.

Lack­ovic’s friend Eden com­mit­ted sui­cide in the early 2000s - a time he de­scribed as the most “chal­leng­ing” time of his life.

“It was an ex­pe­ri­ence where a good friend of mine and I grew up play­ing ju­nior level to­gether in the same teams,” he said.

“When I be­gan as a coach (at Perth Red­backs), I re­cruited him to come and join from a pre­vi­ous club.

“We played a game on a Sun­day and we em­braced af­ter the game, talked about what a good week­end it was and how we had a cou­ple of good wins over the week­end.

“I got the call Mon­day night and on Tuesday at train­ing and the team was no­ti­fied that he de­cided to take his life, which was quite dev­as­tat­ing.”

The for­mer Perth Red­backs and Perth Wild­cats guard said his good re­la­tion­ship with Eden in­spired him to be­come the best coach he could be.

“For some rea­son, he did not have the strength to be able to share with me the trou­bles and the chal­lenges that he was hav­ing,” he said.

“So each and ev­ery day, when we are out there on the court, whether we are suc­cess­ful or not, I make sure that I tap into how player wel­fare is.

“For me, it is not all mea­sured about wins and losses on the court, it is about the kind of young player that we are de­vel­op­ing as a man and sur­round­ing the player with a great sup­port network.”

Lack­ovic said he em­pha­sised fam­ily val­ues when coach­ing at SBL, Western Aus­tralia Bas­ket­ball League (WABL), school level and the All Stars North team.

“Coach­ing is my soul… I en­joy putting back into young men and help­ing them to max­imise their full po­ten­tial and teach­ing the skill set, which is rel­a­tive both on and off the court,” he said.

*Source: em­maTM con­ducted by Ip­sos Me­di­aCT for 12 months end­ing Jan­uary - Read­ers in Last 4 Weeks. Nielsen DRM

Pic­ture: An­drew Ritchie­mu­ni­ d469568

Hale School di­rec­tor of bas­ket­ball Nik Lack­ovic (43).

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