SEABL: Home-town boy back to lead Knox Raiders 

MATT Shanahan's appointment as Knox Raiders men's coach is a home coming, of sorts.

The former NBL veteran guard grew up in Boronia, just a few doors along from the old Knox Stadium and while he never played juniors at the club due to family connections with Nunawading, Shanahan spent hour upon hour training at the venue.

Shanahan's Raiders won't play at Knox Stadium next season with the side now playing at the State Basketball Centre in Wantirna South but regardless of their home court, the 36 year old is excited to return to the Melbourne basketball scene.

"For me, it feels like I'm coming back to an old stomping ground," he said.

Shanahan has spent the past three years as operations and development manager for Coffs Harbour basketball association in New South Wales where he also coached the Coffs Harbour Suns to a championship in the NSW Waratah league championship.

Shanahan was a playing coach with the Suns but confirmed he would be a non-playing coach with the Raiders and would focus fully on leading the side.

Shanahan acknowledged he will walk into a club where success was an expectation every season, with departed coach Graham Longstaff making his Raiders' teams perennial title contenders.

"I've got very big shoes to fill, there is no question about that with what Graham had done with the team," Shanahan said.

"They have won championships and made semi-finals. I'm more than ready for it.

"The club is an excellent outfit and with a few minor changes and adjustments I want to take them one step further."

Shanahan said his move home to Melbourne was completed within a week as he won a job as a scout and development coach with the Australian college of basketball based at the Melbourne Sports and Aquatic Centre along with the Raiders coaching position.

"Everything fell into place for me in seven days. In my career that has never happened before," he said.

The Raiders' side looks likely to remain similar to last season's unit with Shanahan saying he expected to field imports CJ Massingale and Lester Strong once again but would be looking for a forward to replace the retired Stephen Hoare who will be an assistant coach with Sandringham next season.

He said he would also be after a reliable back-up point guard to spell Sean Carroll.

"With the role I want Sean to play he won't be able to play the same high minutes he played this season," Shanahan said.

"CJ was the first guy to call me and congratulate me on my appointment and Lester is expected back from America this week.

"I've told all the players they have a blank canvas with me, whether you are talking about a CJ or a Mick Hill or the youngest kid on the roster. If they do the right thing and work hard they will be rewarded."

Shanahan said he looked forward to seeing Massingale return from his stint with Adelaide 36ers in the NBL.

"He is hyped to come back.

"He hasn't played a lot of minutes this season — he is in similar role to the one I played in the NBL.

"He has to be patient and take his opportunities when they come.

"Having him in the NBL can work both ways. He might come back in a bit late but if he comes back in great physical shape and is hungry and determined to show what he could do ,then he could be in for a big season."

Raiders' pre-season training begins next week.

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