TOMMY Greene knew Trevor Gleeson meant business when he walked in for his first training run as Warrnambool Seahawks coach.
“He was very organised for his first session, meticulous with everything worked out to plan on a clipboard,” he said of the early 1990s pre-season.
“We laughed a bit at him at that time because he was a mate and had to go to his clipboard to see see what he was doing.
“As a coach, he was really hard-nosed. It was really impressive.
“I talk to kids now who I coach and a lot of the drills I do are the same ones Trevor did with us when he walked in.”
Greene is not surprised Gleeson has developed into one of Australia’s premier basketball coaches.
The two-time NBL championship-winning mentor is in Rio de Janeiro as an assistant coach for the talented-stacked Australian Boomers.
He hopes to return to Western Australia with a medal around his neck as preparations for Perth Wildcats’ title defence ramp up.
“I reckon his story is unreal – one of the best sports stories in Warrnambool with what he’s achieved,” Greene said.
“We sit back sometimes and are gob-smacked at the levels he’s achieved. He’s one of the funniest blokes you’ll meet in your life.”
The Port Fairy-based Greene said a back injury which ended Gleeson’s playing career prematurely robbed the sport of a promising talent.
“I’ve known ‘Budsa’ since I was in under 10s. He was a few years older,” he said.
“He had an accident, but previous to that he was a really good basketball player; really aggressive.
“When you were a kid you had idols in American basketball or the NBL but I remember coming home as a kid in the backyard and pretending to be Trevor Gleeson.”
Lester Pickett’s connection to Gleeson extends beyond the basketball court.
The Warrnambool Mermaids championship-winning coach will wake early to watch his good mate help the Boomers in Rio.
“I played with his brothers Colin and Shane and used to live with the Gleeson family, so I lived with Trevor and coached him and coached with him,” Pickett said.
“He was a very solid player and always had basketball in his blood. His mother Margaret was always around the stadium.”
They led a Warrnambool team, which featured current Seahawks coach Matt Alexander, to an under 18 Vic Country title when Gleeson’s career was in its infancy.
“He’s tactical and very passionate about what he does and he gets on well with his players,” Pickett said.
The Games start on Saturday.
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