The Bendigo Bank Braves could sign a new import by next week as returning coach Ben Harvey aims to strengthen the squad for a tilt at next season’s SEABL championship.
Harvey has recommitted to the basketball club for 2013, determined to win an elusive championship in what he says will be his final season as coach.
Despite taking a step back while deciding whether to continue, he has stayed in touch with a tall US import who can play in the post.
Harvey wants to sign a big and a point guard from overseas to replace this season’s American imports, Deilvez Yearby and Daniel Horton, who both left the club on poor terms.
“I’d like to think that I could seal the big import within a week. He’s very close,” Harvey said yesterday.
“At this stage we’d be definitely looking at (recruiting) a guard, I don’t know yet what type of player – I’ve got a list.
“With the imports I don’t need them to come out and score 45 points a game, they just need to fit in.”
After winning two conference titles in his first two years as Braves coach, Harvey endured a turbulent 2012 season – mostly due to internal problems.
The import problem and the amount of time away from his young family caused him to rethink whether he wanted to continue as head coach.
Eventually, it was his wife Kirstie who gave him a nudge to go on for one more season.
“This year was a bit of a funny year with ups and downs and stresses,” she said.
“I just thought he shouldn’t end it on this year. We all love it, too, we love coming to the games.
“It’s a family thing.”
Harvey believes he has the squad to deliver a championship next season and will ask more of point guard Kevin Probert, in particular, when he meets players individually next week.
“I definitely feel our improvement needs to come from our guards, you can win and lose a game from a point guard. Now that Warren’s (Randall) finished there’ll be a lot of emphasis on Kevin,” Harvey said.
“It’s going to be a tough year. Really what it comes down to is I’m not going to take any excuses, if you’re not going to work hard then you’re not going to play.”
Most of the Braves are expected to play on, although Chris Novak is considering retirement.
NBL star Tom Garlepp is a chance to return after this season with Sydney, depending on whether he plays more than 20 minutes a game for the Kings, which would classify him as an import at SEABL level.