There are two things more important than any other to Canberra Capitals coach Paul Goriss: his family, and his team.
So you naturally wonder how he coped when basketball's hardwood floors caved in beneath him for his part in an integrity breach that saw the Capitals coach banned for a month and referee Simon Cosier rubbed out for the season.
"Mate, to be honest, the mental toll it took wasn't great. That's being totally honest," Goriss said.
Goriss has stayed away from the jackals of social media, all but locked down inside his apartment and unable to make contact with the Capitals.
There is no tale easier to write than the redemption story. Goriss is not one for the limelight, but his playing group is hell bent on making a statement when he returns to coaching for a WNBL clash with the Bendigo Spirit at the National Convention Centre on Sunday.
Goriss was suspended for accepting confidental footage of a Sydney scrimmage initially intended for referee education purposes. A "stupid error", though an independent panel found Canberra gained no advantage in handing down its sanctions.
Basketball Australia launched an appeal, with a decision expected on Monday. The Capitals may lose competition points after Sydney coach Shane Heal accused the club of cheating.
Points for a game in which Canberra were trailing for the majority, making changes on the run as they took more than a half of basketball to grow accustomed to Sydney's press.
"I take full responsibility, I put myself in that situation, but I would say mental health has certainly been an area I have been more aware of during this entire process," Goriss said.
"I've stayed off social media, away from all of that stuff. I know the truth, I know my character, I know the kind of person I am and the values I have. It was a stupid error and mistake, but for some people to carry on like they are, that's the kind of people they want to be and are.
"I was looking forward to being back on court and then hearing about the appeal I took a bit of a dive. I was counting down the days to getting back. To me, it's been mentally fatiguing and tiring having to deal with that kind of thing."
In his own backyard and from some externally, the support has been unwavering.
Assistant coach Kennedy Kereama filled the void in Goriss' absence. He and captain Kelsey Griffin made a point of declaring their support the night following the ban in the wake of a win over Bendigo.
Griffin had privately pushed to play against Bendigo that night in December, so eager was she to make a stand for Goriss despite her facial fractures not yet healing.
"As the team keeps telling me, Slim [Britt Sykes] messages me and Kelsey tells me, they've got my back. That's the most important thing," Goriss said.
"To me, the two things that are most important are my family and this team. The looks on their faces, the cheering, the laughter, the smiles welcoming me back, it is nice to know they do have my back.
"They appreciate what I do, and I appreciate what they've done and been through because it hasn't been easy for them either without me being there. Obviously Kennedy has taken on a huge workload, Kelsey being the captain, all of them have had to step up in different ways.
"It just goes to prove the high character of the individuals in this group and the team chemistry that we do have, we do have each other's back, we are family and support each other."
Goriss' comeback should have already taken place in Ballarat on Friday night, far removed from the bright lights of the National Convention Centre, before the Southside Flyers were struck down by COVID-19.
So he will take his place on the bench at home, a roaring crowd at his back and a team with a point to prove by his side.
"I was in two minds whether I wanted to be at home or whether I wanted to be away for my first game," Goriss said.
"I just wanted to get back to coach this team and be around them. I'm bitterly disappointed, through no one's fault, the game was cancelled [on Friday night] but it is what it is. Now to be able to go back and coach my first game back in front of our home crowd is really important. I'm looking forward to getting back out there."
WNBL ROUND EIGHT
Sunday: Canberra Capitals v Bendigo Spirit at National Convention Centre, 1pm.
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