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Pongrass confident Kings will build another 'championship-contending squad'

9 days ago

5 mins read

Sydney Kings CEO Chris Pongrass sent out the following statement to the club's members about the upcoming NBL24 season.

Dear members,

What an amazing ride the past two years have been, with the club successfully securing back-to-back championships for just the second time in our proud history.

While the memories from March 15 at Qudos Bank Arena will last forever, our club is determined to create even more this season - which is why we have all been hard at work preparing for our pursuit of an NBL three-peat.  

Roster construction and the coaching search are my priorities.  

With Shaun BruceDejan Vasiljevic and Jordi Hunter already under contract, the club's primary focus leading into free agency was re-signing our key bench unit – all of whom were pivotal during our title defence last season.

The first cab of the rank was Jaylin Galloway, who penned a fresh three-year deal with the Kings. JG is one of the most exciting two-way prospects in the country. At just 20 years of age, he is only scratching the surface of his potential, which will no doubt include more international caps after making his senior Boomers debut at the end of 2022.

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This great news was soon followed by us agreeing to a new two-year extension for grand final hero Angus Glover. Following three seasons and two Championships with the Club, there was a desire on both sides to have Gus return. He is a leader of our group and has emerged as one of the best shooting wings in the NBL.  

Soon after, we exercised our team option on Kouat Noi for NBL24. Kouat was incredibly efficient backing up the NBL MVP, Xavier Cooks and thrived in this role. It was an easy decision to bring back such a key piece of our rotation.  

With the entire bench returning, we focused on locking in other key young prospects, including signing Jackson Makoi to a new two-year deal – the first year as a development player with the second season upgrading to a fully contracted player. After sustaining an ACL injury in our final regular season game, Jackson’s rehabilitation is tracking well and is on schedule to see the court in the early stages of NBL24.  

We were able to add two NSW products to our system in Makuach Maluach and Klairus Amir - young, athletic, local prospects. This is a continued focus for us year-on-year – proving the legitimate player development pathway within the Kings. 

The initial bustle of free agency is understandably an exciting time for fans – luckily our priority signings were penned prior to the free agency window opening. With that being said, we have some obvious gaps to fill and some big signings on the horizon. 

We have a clear strategy for this year's and next year's roster build. This involves us being methodical and measured in our approach with each individual signing – we are not just signing players to sign them, it needs to fit within our model. If you can recall, we had similar challenges last off-season having to replace our highly touted import-trio; many said we couldn’t back it up, that we were taking too long and becoming complacent … and didn’t we prove them wrong.  

Check out Angus Glover's in-depth chat with Under The Surface's Anneli Maley above, via our Sydney Kings' YouTube channel. While you're there, be sure to hit subscribe, to ensure you never miss out on any of our great videos.

We are active in our conversations with a variety of marquee locals, imports and next-star prospects. There are currently a number of enticing options in front of us that are progressing well – including one major signing that has been agreed to and will be announced soon. 

We farewelled Chase Buford last week. Two championships in two years, all while making history and breaking records along the way - he is in my view one of the best coaches this league has seen. We will all miss Chase and the passion, commitment and sacrifice given to our club - I couldn’t be more appreciative for the two years we shared together and all that we built.

But our focus now firmly shifts to the recruitment of our next head coach. We have cast a wide net, but rest assured this process is well underway.

I ask you all to have patience and trust in myself, our coaches and the front office to put together another championship-contending squad. We are incredibly excited by the opportunity to construct a team that will play thrilling, fast-paced and Kings-style basketball that our members and fans have grown to love.  

This is intended to give you some insight into how we are progressing towards NBL24. I look forward to seeing you all at our banner unveiling on October 8. Until then, be on the lookout for the next big announcement. 

Regards, Kings CEO Chris Pongrass. 

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