Former Bendigo Bank Spirit player Madeleine Garrick is set to return to the club for the upcoming WNBL season.
The Spirit is in advanced talks with the 20-year-old from Shepparton, with Bendigo coach Bernie Harrower hoping to sign her soon.
“She’s certainly somebody that we want in our squad,” Harrower said.
“My discussions with her when she played for us last time before she left was always about her coming back to play for us.
“Hopefully, we can get that deal done in the next couple of weeks. We’d be excited about having her on our roster.”
Garrick made her WNBL debut with the Spirit in 2009-10 before moving to the AIS for the past two seasons.
She returned to Bendigo in March to play in the SEABL for the Champions IGA Lady Braves and is reportedly keen to stay in central Victoria. Her Lady Braves team-mates Jane Chalmers and Renae Camino have already committed to the Spirit.
A 179cm guard/forward, Garrick fits the Spirit’s ideal player profile as a country Victorian basketball product and would be the club’s seventh signing for next season.
The Spirit will sign 13 or 14 players for this season and some other Lady Braves players will be invited to train with the squad before it is finalised.
The other Lady Braves players currently signed with WNBL clubs are Kerryn Harrington (Bulleen) and Mia Newley (Townsville).
Harrower said he was still looking to sign at least one more tall player to help Gabe Richards and import Kathleen Scheer.
“That’s a definite, just having Gabe and Kathleen – it’s not enough,” Harrower said.
“Preferably, we’re still looking for Australian players of an Opals calibre. Obviously, they need to be that to be stars in our league, but obviously, there’s not too many of those around.
“Whether it be a swing-man or a big – just somebody that can have an impact – that’s what we’re after.
“If we went down the path of another import it’s something that we don’t have to be in a hurry for because imports are somebody you can go out and get any time.”
After playing for Australia in Bendigo on Tuesday night, Bendigo champion Kristi Harrower expressed her desire to play on for the Spirit.
But the Opals veteran will wait to see how her troublesome Achilles gets through the Olympics campaign before she makes a decision.