Sport

WNBL: New Canberra Capitals coach Paul Goriss puts building blocks in place to rebuild

New Canberra Capitals head coach Paul Goriss will spread the recruiting net far and wide to help restore the most successful club in WNBL history to its former glory.

But he's also committed to giving Canberra's best young talent an opportunity to shine on the national stage and develop an exciting side from the ground up.

New Canberra Capitals head coach Paul Goriss.
New Canberra Capitals head coach Paul Goriss. Photo: Elesa Kurtz

Goriss has joined the Capitals on a three-year deal, filling the vacancy left by Carrie Graf.

He plans to use his 13 years of experience as a coach at Basketball Australia's Centre of Excellence at the AIS to help in recruiting.

"I'll be trying to spread the net wide and see who is available because the last couple of seasons have been tough for the Capitals," Goriss said.

"In my interview process, it was about being able to refresh and rebuild the program from a standpoint of having in someone new.

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"We've got to see if we can get the right character and right kind of people involved."

Capitals general manager Joe Roff said Goriss would be judged not only on on-court success, but also on how he engaged with the Canberra community.

"Paul's already identified some of the best young junior talent in Canberra," Roff said.

"Potentially, in the past, they haven't seen the pathway to becoming future Capitals players.

"We want to ensure all young women and girls playing basketball in Canberra see where their pathway is to be the next Lauren Jackson of Australian women's basketball."

The Capitals are coming off the worst season in the club's history with a 2-22 record.

Goriss inherits a team with only two contracted players, point guards Abbey Wehrung and Alice Coddington, giving him the chance to build the roster from scratch.

Australian Opals forwards Marianna Tolo and Carley Mijovic – who had had stints with the Capitals – would perfectly fit Goriss's fast-paced game.

But it would depend on whether those players remain in the WNBL next season or chased more lucrative deals overseas after the Olympics.

"I suspect, just being in and around Opals camp today, that a lot of players are going to test the waters with going to Europe post-Olympics," Goriss said.

"The league or the talent pool might be down a little bit with the Opals, at least the top-range girls, looking to go to Europe.

"But if we can make an attractive offer with the Capitals and what we can offer with the University of Canberra, that will put us in a good stead to be negotiating with those girls."

Goriss will meet with Capitals veteran Carly Wilson this week to gauge her interest in returning next season.

But he said the Capitals' two US imports, Renee Montgomery and DeNesha Stallworth, wouldn't be part of the plans.

While building from the ground up, Goriss had lofty goals for the team in the next three years.

"[Winning the championship] is going to take time, but I'm hopeful we can do a good job in sustaining progress and sustaining winnability and getting the right roster together," Goriss said.

"Realistically not in year one, but we will be building towards it in year two and in year three.

"That would be my main goal, to get them at least in the top four and at least to a final in year three."

He planned to use the game style he successfully implemented with the under-19 Australian men's team.

"I want a fast-paced game," Goriss said.

"I like athletic, quick players who can play up the floor defensively and they have to have a good basketball IQ.

"I want to change some things and be a full-court pressing team."