United milestone man Goulding still finding new tricks

Shayne Hope |

The look in Chris Goulding’s eyes leaves no doubt – the man is hungry.

Starved of NBL playoffs action last season, Melbourne United’s record-setting shooter craves a third championship ring.

And the 35-year-old veteran is prepared to keep altering his game after more than 17 years in the league in order to reach the summit again.

“The defences are going to continue to try to stop him going where traditionally he wants to get to,” coach Dean Vickerman said ahead of Goulding’s 250th game for United at home to the Brisbane Bullets on Sunday.

“But he’s continuing to get better at (finding a) counter and finding ways to get open because that’s who he is as a shooter.

“He’s one of the most elite that I’ve coached in being able to catch-and-shoot and find balance in the air and get his shots off or create contact or find that extra drive to the rim.

“He’s got the ability to continue to handle what defences are throwing at him.”

Goulding made his NBL debut with the Bullets in 2006 and spent time with the Perth Wildcats and Gold Coast Blaze before joining the Melbourne Tigers in 2012.

After a season in Spain, he joined the rebranded Melbourne United in 2015 and has since been a mainstay, posting club-record tallies in games played, points, assists and steals.

The ever-green Chris Goulding continues to dazzle with amazing statistics. (Joel Carrett/AAP PHOTOS)

This season, Goulding ranks sixth in the league with an average of 19.0 points a game – his highest figure since 2014.

“We talk about him and how high a level he’s been able to sustain for a period of time and to see him possibly go up another level this year is an amazing feat,” Vickerman said.

“If I’m a fan of basketball, I’m someone who wants to turn up to a game and see him play because his skill level is so high.”

Goulding has had three stints in Europe, including a season with Paris Basketball this year, and was a member of the Australian Boomers’ bronze medal-winning squad at the Tokyo Olympics.

He has played more than 420 NBL games in total and shows no signs of slowing down, with his experience rubbing off on younger teammates.

“He’s an unbelievable leader and world-class shooter and scorer,” United swingman and NBA prospect Luke Travers said.

“It’s been really fun to share the court with him and hopefully we can do some special things in the future.”

United’s import guard Ian Clark is on track to return for Goulding’s milestone game on Sunday, having missed three straight games following a recurrence of his hamstring injury.

“He had a good week last week but just because it was a re-injury it was really important to get one more week of load into him,” Vickerman said.

“He’ll be good to go.”

Melbourne (10-3) enter round 10 on top of the ladder and are looking to rebound from a shock home loss to Cairns Taipans when they host Brisbane (7-7).


Games 249

Points 4051

Field goals 1333

Three-pointers 828

Free-throws 557

Assists 582

Steals 181