Basketball: Injured White Ferns star Suzie Bates takes on Otago Nuggets coaching role

Injured White Ferns cricket star Suzie Bates has a new challenge on her plate.

The Tall Ferns basketballer has joined Otago Nuggets, as an assistant coach for the upcoming NBL season.

Dunedin's Edgar Centre is a stadium Bates knows well and the orange ball is also very familiar to one of our top cricketers.

"It probably wasn't until I was 25 that I had to focus on cricket," she says. "Up until then, I played basketball in the winter and cricket in the summer."

The former Olympian won a national women’s championship with the Otago Gold Rush in 2011, under current Nuggets coach Brent Matehaere.

And with Bates the cricketer currently out of action, after shoulder surgery, Matehaere has persuaded his former student to join his coaching team at the Nuggets.

"She just brings a lot of, I guess, institutional knowledge," says Matehaere. "You know, she's been to the top in two sports and knows what it's about in terms of being a professional player." 

The Nuggets made a winning return to the NBL last season after a five-year absence, claiming their maiden championship.

Bates hopes to encourage the young squad and share the knowledge she's gained from playing around the world.

"I'll try to teach them what it is like to play at the next level and encourage them to aspire to play at the next level, and just bring that intensity every training."

But she has no plans to hang up the bat just yet.

"Look, you never know with shoulder surgery, but the goal is to rehab it and I'm really determined to play that home World Cup."

Bates' immediate focus is on the NBL season, which tips off in late April.