VETERAN coach Don Coulson will again take charge of the next crop of Bendigo's up and coming basketball stars in 2006.
Coulson will again coach the Bendigo Young Braves in the Big V Youth League division one next season and will be assisted by 24-year-old Ben Caruana, who is being groomed as the next coach of the side after Coulson retires.
Coulson has been involved with basketball for 41 years, but has indicated next year is likely to be his last as a coach.
The Young Braves finished sixth at the end of the regular season this year, winning 12 games and losing 10.
They were knocked out of the championship race in the first week of the finals when Kilsyth, who finished seventh with an 11-11 record, prevailed 80-77 in an elimination final at the Schweppes Centre on August 13.
"It was a good year for us because four of our guys also played with the Bendigo Hume & Iser Braves and when we have a clash of games, we lost those guys," Coulson said.
"So to still finish sixth and for the Braves to win two grand finals with those four guys was a good result."Taylor Bell, Chris Dickson, Warren Randall and Pat Jennings all played for the Young Braves and the Braves' senior side this year.
The quartet were all part of the Braves' team that beat Kilsyth 105-99 in the SEABL south conference grand final, and beat the Sydney Comets 102-98 in the grand final of the ABA national finals in Geelong.
This year's Big V Youth League division one was won by Eltham, who swept Diamond Valley 2-0 in the grand final series earlier this month.
Caruana has come up through the Braves' junior programs and was a member of the Young Braves' team this year.
He is looking forward to working closely with Coulson before taking over the reins in 2007.
The Young Braves will have a squad of 21 next season, but it's expected 13 of those spots will be occupied by players who played with the club this year.
The Young Braves are expected to start pre-season training in November.