12 Sep 2014

Vucinic steps down

12:50 pm on 12 September 2014

The New Zealand men's basketball coach Nenad Vucinic has confirmed he's stepping down.

Nenad Vucinic

Nenad Vucinic Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Vucinic has been part of the national team for 25 years, first as a player and then in the coaching staff but will step down upon the completion of his contract at the end of this season.

He admits that he knew four years ago that their just completed World Cup campaign would be his swansong, his time to bow out of a job he has loved and cherished for eight years.

Vucinic says his decision was made back after the last World Cup in 2010, when he got asked to extend for another four years, he thought it was a great opportunity for him to try to do well, but also to develop depth on all fronts.

He felt eight years as a head coach was enough... staying longer would deprive others of the opportunity to enjoy it.

Vucinic says his proudest moment was the final buzzer against Lithuania earlier this week... it was a tough defeat, a lot of "what if" thoughts went through his head, but his heart was full because of who the Tall Blacks are when he finished.

He first wore the black singlet in 1989 against Minnesota University, and was part of the team in all but three years - 1990 and 1991 because of a mandatory stand-down rule by FIBA at the time, and 1999 when he had a year off.

Vucinic retired from playing in 2000 and quickly moved into the coaching ranks, first as an assistant with then head coach Tab Baldwin.

Vucinic says he isn't lost to the game, he just has new opportunities to pursue, including the ongoing running of the Nelson Giants franchise that he has an ownership stake in.