Bermudian basketball coach David Patrick has high hopes for World Cup glory
David Patrick believes the Australia men’s basketball team have the potential to win gold at the Fiba World Cup this summer.
Expectations will be high for the Boomers, who are ranked No 3 in the world and are heading into the 32-team tournament with a formidable squad boasting NBA players Josh Giddey, Patty Mills, Matisse Thybulle, Joe Ingles, Jock Landale, Josh Green, Matthew Dellavedova, Xavier Cooks, Jack White and Dyson Daniels.
“Our goal is to win a gold medal,” Patrick told The Royal Gazette. “We reached an honour never achieved before by getting a bronze medal at the Olympics, so the next step for this group is our ambition to win gold.
“We definitely have the talent on paper when you talk about Josh Giddey, Joe Ingles, Jock Landale and Patty Mills to name a few of our NBA stars. We have the pieces to compete against anyone.”
Bermudian Patrick will accompany the Australians in the capacity of assistant coach and will work alongside head coach Brian Goorjian during the upcoming tournament, which takes place from August 25 to September 10 in the Philippines, Japan and Indonesia.
Patrick was first appointed as Australia’s assistant coach in 2019 and helped the country to its best showing of fourth at the World Cup as well as a first win over the United States in the same year.
“To be chosen to represent Australia on the coaching staff again by coach Brian Goorjian and basketball Australia is a great honour,” Patrick said.
“When you grow up in Australia, as I did after leaving Bermuda, you imagine the opportunity to represent the country on the national stage, so I do not take this opportunity for granted.”
The Boomers impressed at the previous World Cup in China, where they just missed out on a podium finish after losing to France in the bronze medal match, with Spain winning their second World Cup title after defeating Argentina in the final.
Born in Bermuda, Patrick moved with his mother to Melbourne, Australia, where he played for the Melbourne Tigers and professionally in the National Basketball League with the Canberra Cannons.
“Bermuda is always a special place to me and is still home,” he said. “My father, Allison Patrick, still resides in Hamilton and we try to make it over at least once a year to see him.
“My Bermudian roots keep me grounded and I hope I can inspire any other male or female who has a dream to pursue their athletic person because you can make it to the top from anywhere if I can.”
Patrick first fell in love with the sport watching NBA games on television in Australia and made history after becoming the first Bermudian to play NCAA Division I basketball while studying at Syracuse, whom he helped reach the Final Four.
“I was inspired watching late-night games of the Lakers and the Celtics and then playing for my first club called the Melbourne Tigers,” he said.
“I would think my biggest achievement is playing at Syracuse in a Final Four in 1996. To be the first Bermudian to play Division I basketball is special to me.”
Patrick is also the first Bermudian to coach in NCAA Division I as head coach of Sacramento State University and led the team to 14 wins this past season in his debut campaign to register the best record by a first-year head coach in the school’s Division I era and the third best in programme history.
“Being the first and only Division I basketball head coach who is from Bermuda and Australia, is an opportunity I don’t take lightly,” he said.
“I think it was a very successful season in terms of trying to impose our DNA in our team and excitement around the programme.
“We won the most games in the history of the school by the first-year staff, so that is kudos to my staff and my team. Obviously the records were special and shows we were doing some things right.
“My biggest enjoyment came out of the growth of each individual student athlete as young men. I believe they grew with a new coach and new staff over the course of the year, and that is as big a feat as anything. We had four student athletes graduate, which is very rewarding.
“I take great pride in being a Division I head coach and don’t take the blessing for granted. There are only 363 Division I head coaches in the country and to be the first, and only, from Bermuda and Australia is an honour.”
Patrick believes the school’s future is promisingas he looks ahead to the upcoming season.
“I believe this is the end chance to build out a lot more than last year‘s team,” he said. “Like any business, the foundation has been set and we’ve been able to bring in some great pieces to help move the needle further in the right direction.”