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Head coach Brent Matehaere has been able to secure leave from his teaching role at Otago Boys’ High School and will lead the campaign which gets under way later this month.
Matehaere had initially signed on as coach when the Nuggets were targeting a return in 2021.
But the arrival of Covid-19 forced the league into a rethink and the revamped competition presented Otago with an opportunity to re-enter the league a year earlier.
Matehaere was uncertain whether he would be able to commit to the challenge when contacted for comment late last month but his leave has been approved.
Matehaere had to look outside of Dunedin to find two assistant coaches.
The likes of former Nuggets coaches Todd Marshall and Alf Arlidge and Gold Rush head coach Gavin Briggs have day jobs and could not commit.
But Matehaere has secured the services of Aucklanders Aik Ho, who will be the main assistant, and Justin Bailey, who will drift in and out as work allows.
Ho is the Tall Ferns assistant coach and has plenty of experience, while Bailey will be a familiar name to Nuggets fans. He donned the singlet for the franchise in 2007.
He played alongside fellow American import Branduinn Fullove for the Nuggets in 2007. The pair formed a formidable guard line.
Bailey averaged 23.9 points in 18 games and scored more than 30 points five times.
The 42-year-old also had seasons with the Waikato Pistons (2009) and the Harbour Heat (2012).
He helped the Pistons claim the title in 2009 and was named finals MVP, so he could really play.
Bailey, who is a teacher at Long Bay College on the North Shore, should be a good fit for the Nuggets.
‘‘What I talked to Justin about was being in support of our younger guards that we are looking to take up [to Auckland].’’
Matehaere is ‘‘rapt’’ with his team and is looking forward to the challenge ahead.
‘‘I feel confidence will grow throughout the whole campaign with those two guys in the seat beside me.’’