New Tornadoes coach Derrick Washington arrives from US to bring side on a SEABL journey

I'M HERE: Launceston Tornadoes chair Janie Finlay welcomes new club coach Derrick Washington to the home Elphin Sports Centre court on Thursday. Pictures: Paul Scambler
I'M HERE: Launceston Tornadoes chair Janie Finlay welcomes new club coach Derrick Washington to the home Elphin Sports Centre court on Thursday. Pictures: Paul Scambler

The patient wait has taken more than seven weeks, but highly sought-after new coach Derrick Washington has finally landed in Launceston.

The 28-year-old American in charge of the Tornadoes was appointed in December last year after the SEABL club had undertook an extensive recruiting process to search for its first full-time coach.

But Washington wasted no time on Thursday in selling his message to his converts.

“This is my first time here in Australia, but being able to bring my expertise over here to the players will help them develop a different side of their basketball game,” he told the media, “coming from the States, I think it will really be good for the players.”

Washington arrives as a one-time Minnesota State collegiate star guard, whose Mavericks made it through to the NCAA Division II final four in the 2010-11 season.

HOW IT'S DONE: Washington shoots some hoops at the Elphin Sports Centre.

HOW IT'S DONE: Washington shoots some hoops at the Elphin Sports Centre.

He has since joined the coaching ranks at Minnesota Lynx, assisting the WNBA side to its historic first 2011 championship before taking up a new development role at western conference rival Dallas Wings.

The latest position on the other side of the world will be Washington’s first head coaching job, which he plans to take a holistic approach to the game in Launceston.

The Milwaukee-raised Washington will also be in charge of the club’s long-term vision of fostering youth development all year round. 

“I’ve pretty much been in contact [from the US] with most of all the players, so I know my team that I’m going to have,” he said. “But this year’s going to be focusing on the process, not the result.

“I’m just making sure my players come along and focus on being a better player, and becoming a better team.”