Kereama keeps Capitals cruising

Kennedy Kereama. (Shawn Smits)

By Oliver Lees

Experienced coach Kennedy Kereama has graciously stepped in as interim head coach for the University of Canberra Capitals in the WNBL.

Kereama, who also serves as the director of coaching at the Sunbury Basketball Association, joined the Capitals as an assistant coach late last year.

He was then thrust into the top job in December after Capitals head coach Paul Goriss was handed a five-game suspension for breaching the WNBL’s ethics framework.

Since assuming the role on December 21, Kereama has led the Capitals to two impressive wins against Bendigo (100-88) and Townsville (76-52).

After four matches, the Capitals sat second on the table with three wins and one loss.

With more than 10 years experience under his belt, including a stint as the New Zealand women’s national team coach, Kereama said he was enjoying the opportunity to lead one of the stand out teams in the WNBL.

“I’ve always had a tremendous amount of respect for this club, it has a strong history and culture of winning championships,” he said.

“[It’s] a great group of players, they’ve been very accepting and responsive to me coming in.”

With nine titles, including in 2019-20, Canberra is the most successful franchise in the WNBL.

Kereama spent four years as the Sunbury Jets women’s Big V state championship coach before moving to Canberra.

As coach, Kereama guided his side from division 1 to the state championship division, where they claimed two championships.

Having also spent time coaching else in the WNBL, such as at the Dandenong Rangers, Melbourne Boomers and the West Coast Waves, (now Perth Lynx), said the move to the Capitals has allowed him to find ways to develop further as a coach.

“After 10 years [as a coach], you get to the point where sometimes the only way you can get better is to work with other elite coaches and athletes,” he said.

This program is a stand out in the league, I’m constantly working with championship calibre players.”

Kereama remains in the position as the director of coaching at Sunbury, but said he has taken leave from the role until the WNBL season is over.

In that role Kereama has overseen the appointment of coaches John White and Ben Draper to lead the men’s and women’s program next year in the Big V.

“We’ve got a great group of coaches, all with experience in the WNBL or NBL, so as far as the Big V is concerned, they’re the best coaches you can get,” he said.

“We’ve got more juniors representing their state than ever… we’re in a really good place as a club right now, and I hope we can continue that.”

Kereama will continue as head coach until Goriss’ suspension concludes on January 20.