Star import Jazz Ferguson reckons the Bendigo Bank Braves are a better team than his Albury-Wodonga side that won the SEABL championship last year.
Ferguson’s comments came after an outstanding debut weekend with the Braves.
The sweet-shooting point guard led all scorers in a win over Knox, but not even his 39 points at 64 per cent from the field in Geelong could drag Bendigo over the line against the Supercats.
Despite that loss, the American liked what he saw from his new team-mates.
“I definitely feel like we have a lot of similar pieces to what we had in Albury last year,” Ferguson said.
“We probably have a little more depth than we had on that team and I feel like we’re easily one of the top two or three teams in the league that can win it this year.
“We feel like we’re on the same level as Geelong is – they were the season favourites – when you’re playing one of the best teams on the road you have to play for 40 minutes.
“I feel like we played for 38 minutes. The last two minutes we took our foot off the pedal.”
Ferguson’s 65-point, six-rebound and four-assist weekend earned him the SEABL men’s Player of the Week for round one and his performances showed his drive is as strong as ever.
“I work hard so I just want to be able to set a standard for myself to play well every week,” he said.
“We have a really high expectation this year, so I just wanted to be able to show the fans that it’s going to be an exciting year. Getting off to a good start is key for us to getting where we want to go.”
The Braves face the next four games on the road, finishing with a showdown in Albury-Wodonga.
Ferguson copped plenty of flak for leaving the Bandits for Bendigo, but is keen to return to the Lauren Jackson Sports Centre.
“It was a tough decision to make, but at the end of the day once the season has started for me I’m already focused on this season now,” he said.
“All the pre-season build-up and some of the comments were made, you know it was personal then, but now that the season has started I have a completely different focus.
“But I am looking forward to playing against Albury. I’m sure it will be a great atmosphere when we play them both times.”
Meanwhile, the SEABL has offered a range of dates for the Lady Braves and Knox to replay their match after the lights went out midway through the match last Friday night.
The Lady Braves and Braves travel to Canberra for round two action this Saturday night.