26 October 2023

'I'm just happy to help out': two-time championship-winning coach Paul Gorris returns to the UC Capitals

| Tim Gavel
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Paul Gorris has six seasons as a WNBL head coach and two as an assistant in the WNBA under his belt. Photo: File.

By his own admission, Paul Gorris loves to work and he loves basketball. Add Canberra to the mix and he is just about in heaven.

The two-time WNBL premiership coach with the UC Capitals has just finished his second season as an assistant coach with the WNBA team, the Atlanta Dream.

Rather than take a break from the game before returning to the US, Gorris, a basketball tragic, literally jumped at the opportunity to return to Canberra as Kristen Veal’s assistant coach for the upcoming WNBL season.

Kristen Veal at the UC Capitals’ season 2022/2023 launch. Photo: Liv Cameron.

Gorris was a rookie WNBL coach when handed the reigns of the UC Capitals in 2016 before going on to lead the team to back-to-back championships.

Veal, like Gorris, had a history of coaching juniors before taking on the UC Capitals head coaching role last season.

For Veal, there were plenty of positives despite only winning two games. She describes her debut season as a steep learning curve.

The arrival of Gorris has the potential to fast-track her development as a coach and he is keen to play a mentoring role.

“Vealy knows the game,” says Paul Gorris, “I’m just happy to help out.

“As an assistant coach, I am here for team practice, help with individual players, scout for upcoming games, as well as mentoring.”

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Gorris is probably underplaying his input, but during our conversation, it was obvious that he simply wants to help in any way he can.

As such, he’ll be passing on his learning derived from six seasons as a WNBL head coach and two as an assistant in the WNBA.

To say he is comfortable with his new role at the UC Capitals is an understatement.

“I don’t have to worry about too many meetings or media commitments. The focus is basketball and developing things such as team chemistry.”

The prospect of working with some of the best young players in the WNBL fits perfectly with that plan.

Jade Melbourne is one of those players.

woman holding a basketball

Jade Melbourne. Photo: UC Capitals Facebook.

Gorris has watched her progress through the WNBL and in her debut season with Seattle in the WNBA.

“I have worked with Jade and we speak regularly. I think she is going to be a long-time Opal. She has enormous potential. Her ceiling is so high. I think she is two years away from being the full package as a point guard.”

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Another aspect that enticed him back was the city itself.

“I love it in Canberra. The city is kind of home. I like the pace. It’s different than it is in Atlanta. It’s good.”

His return is an exciting development for the UC Capitals .

The UC Capitals start their season on 5 November against Adelaide at the National Convention Centre. Get your tickets from the WNBL.

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