Perth Wildcats coach Trevor Gleeson says the “referees are on notice” after South East Melbourne threatened to unleash roughhouse tactics against Bryce Cotton in Friday night’s NBL clash.
Cotton scored 27 points and dished out seven assists to lead the Wildcats to a 88-76 win over the Phoenix in Perth last Sunday.
The star American was fouled 11 times that game, and it seems the Phoenix are determined to ensure their fouls have a bigger impact in Friday’s rematch at RAC Arena.
Phoenix co-captain Adam Gibson says a way his team can discourage Cotton from driving to the basket will be to “foul him hard a few times and put him on his arse”.
Gleeson was quick to pounce on those comments.
“He’s had physical people threaten to put him on his arse before,” Gleeson said.
“If they want to send him to the foul line, we’re more than happy
“Referees are on notice that that’s their tactics.
“It’s one thing to say internally but it’s totally different thing when you say it in a public forum that you’re going to put someone on their arse.”
Gleeson said even if Cotton was unable to launch his regular number of shots, he will become a dangerous feeder for teammates.
“Bryce has got that much basketball IQ he turns into a playmaker,” Gleeson said.
“He got seven assists last week, It won’t surprise me if he gets 10 assists this week”
Meanwhile, Gleeson said he is looking forward to working with Bob Thornton again after the former NBA big man was handed an assistant’s role at the Wildcats.
American Thornton will replace outgoing assistant Scott Roth, who has been named head coach of NBL expansion franchise Tasmania JackJumpers.
Thornton hired Gleeson as an assistant in 2000 after winning a head coaching role in America’s Continental Basketball Association.
The 58-year-old Thornton was an assistant coach at the Sacramento Kings in 2019, and is scheduled to arrive in Victoria next month for two-weeks of quarantine before linking up with the Wildcats during their Melbourne hub.