on the move

Eric Malcolm named as Head Coach of Men’s Solomon Island team

After moving to the Solomon Islands a few years ago, former Wests player, coach and President, Eric Malcolm, has recently been announced as the Solomon Islands Men’s Team Head Coach ahead of the 2019 Pacific Games.

Malcolm received the call up after he coached the Solomon Islands’ Women’s team to their first victory in 11 years back in 2017. Looking forward to the challenge of coaching at the international level again, Malcolm says that despite what people may think, there isn’t much of a difference between basketball in the Solomon Islands and Canberra.

“Pacific Games is a huge event in the Oceania region and I’m honoured to have the chance to lead the team there,” said Malcom.

“Coaching at the international level is not too much different to back home. The rules of the game are still the same after all. One thing [that is different] would be the depth and that’s something I’m always conscious of when trying to develop the players,” added Malcolm.

Photo Credit – Eric Malcolm

“The top couple of players though – both women and men – are very strong and I think they could easily compete in the Australian State Leagues (QBL, Waratah, etc.).”

Following the move, Malcolm has kept himself busy with basketball and has even found time to join a band. While adjusting to life on the Island has been easy for Malcolm, he does say that one significant challenge he has faced is getting basketball up and running from a grass roots level.

“Life in general here can be tough, and just being able to see people get organised to play any type of sport here amazes me,” said Malcolm. “Thinking more about the grass roots level, there is not a lot of facilities or equipment so it can be hard to get things started.

Having recently been involved with the Twilight Basketball program (a program designed to engage at-risk, idle and unemployed youth) Malcolm is confident that they can continue to provide opportunities to juniors to play basketball who might not have previously had the chance.

Photo Credit – Eric Malcolm

Malcolm was involved with Wests for nearly 20 years and says that he has drawn on his own experiencs with the club, admitting that he has had to change up his ‘old school’ style of play.

“I was brought up a little bit “old school” with my Wests coaches and also my coaches playing in Canada, so I can be that way myself,” said Malcolm. “But here that doesn’t always work and can end up in players shutting down instead of stepping up. So the main thing is trying to stay positive.”

With preparations well underway for the 2019 Pacific Games, Malcolm is confident the team can perform well at the tournament.

“Pacific Games is a huge event in the Oceania region and I’m honoured to have the chance to lead the team there,” said Malcolm.

“We have a good mix of experience and youth and we’ve been making some good progress on the training court, with a lot of the squad coming to training sessions since about June last year, so I expect that the team will be very competitive.”

To read more about Eric’s story and see how you can help the team on their journey to the Pacific Games, please click here.

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