Basketball: Khazzouh expecting big things of Gaze, Kings

Julian Khazzouh of the Kings tries to get past Cedric Jackson of the Breakers. Photo / Getty Images
Julian Khazzouh of the Kings tries to get past Cedric Jackson of the Breakers. Photo / Getty Images

Sydney Kings centre Julian Khazzouh has backed new coach Andrew Gaze as a brilliant basketball mind who can propel the overhauled club up the NBL ladder next season.

The only way is up for the struggling Kings after last campaign's wooden spoon rounded off a flat few years.

But the franchise's revolution is well under way, with Gaze at the forefront of a revamped team featuring last season's league MVP Kevin Lisch and dual Olympian Brad Newley.

Having met his new head coach a couple of weeks ago, Khazzouh said the 50-year-old five-time Olympian and NBL legend was already showing what he'll be capable of in his rookie year.

"Even just with the juniors camp they ran ... you can see he's found a way to translate that brilliant basketball mind and how to get the words out," Khazzouh told AAP.

"Sometimes with people like that it's all in their head, but he's found a way to articulate it."

Boasting a "wealth of knowledge" and demanding respect from players, Gaze will be well supported by assistant coaches and former Melbourne Tigers colleagues Dean Vickerman and Lanard Copeland.

Khazzouh felt Vickerman's vast experience coaching the title-winning New Zealand Breakers could see him play a mentor role to Gaze as he navigates his first NBL season at the helm.

It's the kind of stability he believes the former heavyweight outfit has been crying out for, aided by new managing director Jeff Van Groningen and rich owners AEG Ogden, who are sparing no expense in their quest for success.

"With the new management group coming in, signing Kev and Brad for three years and Tom (Garlepp) and Jase (Cadee) for two years, there's going to be a little bit of stability there for the next couple of years at least," said Khazzouh, who this week attended a basketball clinic in Sydney for disadvantaged children.

"That's something Sydney has been lacking for a long time, and we've done a really good job of putting together a core group of guys.

"And AEG have said they're willing to put anything and everything in place so we can be as successful as possible.

"Whether it's recovery, state-of-the-art facilities, anything we need essentially they said we can have.

"Jeff says he's never understood why teams pay all this money to sign big-name players, but then go and skimp out on the recovery and strength and conditioning side."

Khazzouh said he was recovering well from December's season-ending injury - a rupture of his right quadriceps tendon - and had resumed on-court running last week.

He expected to be fit for the pre-season starting in mid-July.

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