The Bendigo Bank Braves’ hopes of winning its first SEABL national championship since 2005 have been boosted by the return of Tom Garlepp.
The star big man is the one of the last pieces of the Braves’ puzzle as coach Ben Harvey tries to put together a title-winning squad for the coming season.
Garlepp re-signed after averaging 18.7 points and 9.6 rebounds in his debut season for the Braves last year.
“I am happy to be back in Bendigo,” he said. “I enjoyed my time there last season and I am looking forward to getting started again this season.
“I think we have a very talented team and we can be a big threat in 2013.”
Harvey was forced to wait until January to sign 203cm Garlepp, who is currently playing NBL with the Sydney Kings, due to the SEABL’s restricted players’ policy.
Garlepp has averaged less than 20 minutes per game for Sydney, allowing the Braves to add him to the roster along with imports Ivan McFarlin and Jazz Ferguson.
“We’ve had to wait until the cut-off for the restricted players but we’ve finally signed Tommy,” Harvey said.
“He was great for us last year and we will be looking for the same effort that saw him become on of the dominant big men in the league last year.”
Garlepp, who is averaging 5.5 points and 4.3 rebounds per game coming off the bench for the Kings, will arrive in Bendigo after his NBL commitments.
The Braves’ season begins on Friday, March 15 when it hosts Knox.
However, Sydney’s final home-and-away game is on March 22 and the Kings are a currently in third place and likely to play finals.
The Braves will announce its remaining signings in the coming weeks.