Bendigo’s basketball stocks have once again been raided by Knox, with Gabe Richards joining Kelly Wilson at the SEABL club.
Wilson’s return to Knox, where she had an outstanding debut season for the Raiders last year, is the main reason for her Bendigo Spirit team-mate Richards also signing-up.
Both are former Bendigo Lady Braves players.
“I live with Kelly here in Bendigo, which obviously is a big part in me signing with Knox,” Richards said.
“Kelly really enjoyed her time at Knox last year, and had nothing but good things to say, so that definitely influenced the decision and it makes it a lot easier with two people travelling.
“We have quite a big commute, so two people doing it is a lot easier.”
Richards is enjoying a career-best WNBL season with the Spirit.
The 188cm forward is in All-Star Five contention after averaging 16.3 points and 8.9 rebounds per game – ranking her fifth in scoring and second in rebounds for the league.
Richards and Wilson have been key players in the Spirit’s push towards top spot, with the club boasting a 19-3 record with two games left in the regular season.
Last SEABL season, Wilson helped guide the Raiders to the SEABL women’s final – where she scored 20 points and grabbed six rebounds in a loss to Dandenong.
Wilson made the league’s All Women’s Team after averaging 16.5 points, 6.5 rebounds and 4.7 assists.
It was a tough decision for the point guard to sign with Knox again, but Raiders coach Cheryl Chambers was a big influence behind her decision to stay at the club.
“It was difficult in the sense that I knew I’d have to travel again (from Bendigo),” she said.
“But I think considering the season we had last year, I had a really good time and I enjoyed playing with the girls and having Cheryl as coach, so in that aspect it wasn’t a hard decision to return back to Knox.”
Wilson and Richards won’t have to wait long to play their former club, the Lady Braves, with an opening round clash at Bendigo Stadium on Friday, March 15.
Their focus will remain with the Bendigo Spirit for now, though, with the club in a position to seal top spot with a win over Canberra on Saturday night.
Victory against the Capitals would ensure the Spirit hosts the second semi-final at Bendigo Stadium in the first week of finals.
Canberra is the only team to defeat the Spirit at home so far this season.
Saturday night’s game tips off at 7.30pm.