JAMES Mitchell's injury-imposed time on the sidelines has had a silver lining.
The Big V championship-winning basketballer has been appointed Warrnambool Seahawks' 2019-20 Country Basketball League coach.
Mitchell, 24, said a serious knee injury which has restricted his output at Big V level had given him an opportunity to hone his coaching skills.
He is helping coach Tim Gainey on the bench and also stepped up as assistant when Barry Brooks was on holiday.
"I was surprised by how much I enjoyed it and by how much you can see on the bench," Mitchell said.
"The way you need to look at the game is different. When you're playing, even when you're on the bench, you're looking at who you are playing on.
"This way you're looking at the whole game a lot more - where does the team need to move, how do we get the team a look, and you're worried about match-ups."
Mitchell, who is hopeful of returning for the Seahawks' Big V finals charge, said he was excited to lead a team in his own right.
The Seahawks use the CBL, where they play in the south-west conference, as a stepping stone for Big V prospects.
But he also wants it to become a winning program which instils belief.
"The team will have a younger look but I don't want to put any specific age on it," Mitchell said.
"I want to create a winning culture. We're representing Warrnambool and want to put wins on the board.
"Hopefully once the word is out there, there will be a bit more interest because there's plenty of talent around Warrnambool to be really competitive."
Mitchell will suit up in the CBL and hopes the likes of Michael Barnes, Dailin Toone, Jarrah Blackney-Noter and Matt Rea, who have all played minutes at Big V level, will join him.
He's also spoken to Big V teammate and former NBL player Alex Gynes about helping out in a mentoring capacity.
"I've sat out for six months with injury and I didn't want to miss another six months over summer," Mitchell said.
"I thought it (playing and coaching) was a good way to keep myself in the basketball scene and help the younger guys.
"I have helped coach squads and school teams. Bobby Cunningham and Craig McLeod let me help their junior squads which was good and I have coached school teams at St Joey's (in Warrnambool) and Emmanuel College."
Former WNBL guard and Big V champion Katie O'Keefe will coach the Mermaids' CBL roster.
Mitchell said O'Keefe was the ideal appointment.
"I know the girls have responded well to Katie when she was playing and coached in the past," he said.
"She's an asset and to have her involved in a good sign."
Both teams will announce tryout dates shortly.
The CBL season starts in October and runs until early March. The Big V regular season wraps up in August.
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