Basketball: NZ Breakers import Anthony Lamb pays tribute to deceased Golden State Warriors assistant coach Dejan Milojevic

Amid the elation of victory, NZ Breakers import Anthony Lamb has spared a few sombre moments reflecting on the sudden death of former mentor Dejan Milojevic, an assistant coach with the NBA's Golden State Warriors.

Milojevic, 46, a former Serbian power forward, collapsed at dinner on the eve of the team's road fixture against Utah Jazz, and the NBA postponed the Warriors' next two games, as players and staff mourned their popular colleague.

Lamb, 26, spent last season with the San Francisco-based franchise, under the tutelage of Milojevic and head coach Steve Kerr, and was stunned by the news, as he prepared for the Breakers' crucial Aussie NBL clash with South East Melbourne Phoenix.

Anthony Lamb and Dejan Milojevic.
Anthony Lamb and Dejan Milojevic. Photo credit: Photosport/Getty Images

"I found out about it a couple of days ago and it's been a tough week, honestly," he said. "In all my time playing basketball, I've met very few people who knew as much about the game as him, but also that was completely outshone by the type of person he was and the character he brought, day in and day out.

"His ability to hold you accountable, but respect you and make you feel welcome in everything you do is something I don't know if I'll ever see in a person again, and something I want to bring with me everywhere I go.

"I know it's really hard on family members and all the people in the Warriors organisation. I only spent a year with them, so I can't imagine how someone gets to spend a lot more time with him would react to that.

"I'm so grateful for the time I had with him and I'm just praying that everybody's doing OK over there and nobody ever forgets what a man, what a coach, what a father, what a partner... everything he was. It will be something I miss for the rest of my life."

Lamb responded to the devastating news with one of his best performances of the ANBL season, leading all scorers with 31 points, including three three-pointers and 11/14 from the field, as the Breakers overwhelmed their rivals 106-75 - their biggest win just days after their biggest defeat to Sydney Kings.