Miners coach determined to leave team in strong position ahead of national duties

Nathan Cooper-Brown is determined to help the Ballarat Miners pick up two victories when the team returns from the mid-season break. 

Ballarat GMHBA Miners’ games against Sandringham and Diamond Valley in the South East Australian Basketball League this weekend will be Cooper-Brown’s final time coaching the team before a month-long absence.

Cooper-Brown heads to the FIBA Under-17 World Cup in Argentina as the Australian Crocs’ assistant coach. The Crocs kick off their campaign on July 1, but will travel overseas on June 20 for a week of preparation. 

Coach Nathan Cooper-Brown directs the Ballarat Miners earlier this season. Picture: Dylan Burns

Coach Nathan Cooper-Brown directs the Ballarat Miners earlier this season. Picture: Dylan Burns

Miners’ assistant coach Rob Baker will step in to take the reins as acting head coach – a role he has already fulfilled twice this season.

But Cooper-Brown said being able to leave for Argentina with an 11-2 record would give him even greater peace of mind. 

“I’ve been putting into place as many strategies as possible to make sure when I did go away, I did feel as confident as possible, I did feel the group was in a good place,” Cooper-Brown said. “Particularly after the weekend before the break, I am highly confident that they can keep the successes going.”

It comes as Cooper-Brown was named SEABL’s coach of the month with the Miners producing a 4-1 record in May to climb to second spot.

The Miners are the only team to remain undefeated at home, with the players, supported by a strong showing of vocal fans, turning the Minerdome into one of the league’s best fortresses.

With an emphasis on ‘fun, fast and unselfish’, the team has benefitted from some impressive assist to turnover ratios and scored 115 points or more twice. 

The Miners average 95.4 points per game – 10 points above the league average.

Cooper-Brown said he regarded his coaching award as a shared award. 

“The thing about coaching awards is you can’t get them unless you have a great group of players, and you can’t get them unless you have a great staff around you,” he said. 

“I was very appreciative of the award, but  more so appreciative to the team and the staff for buying into what I’m trying to do and helping us have success.”

While the Miners have put themselves in the best position possible heading into the other side of the SEABL break, Cooper-Brown said the job was only half complete with plenty more work to do.