BENDIGO Braves coach Ben Harvey says star import Jeremy Kendle deserves to be on a NBL roster at the end of the SEABL season.
The American, who leads the league scoring list with 27.3 points per game - 2.2 points ahead of his nearest rival Ballarat's Roy Booker - is in the midst of a purple patch for the east conference leaders.
Kendle is averaging 36 points per game in his last six games, each of them a Braves win.
He was again the team's top scorer with 38 points in a 22 point win against the Sandringham Sabres last weekend.
But Harvey believed Kendle's scoring ability was just the tip of the iceberg of what he brought to the team.
"It's not even about averaging points, this guy is the real deal," he said.
"He's just a good citizen on and off the floor (and) he's what every player should look up to.
"Jeremy works extremely hard off the floor to make himself a better player and makes sure he is in shape, and he plays at an absolute high level.
"He's had a lot of bumps over the years, he's been through some wars with injuries, but all he cares about is winning and making his team better."
Kendle was a former star at Bellarmine University, where he led the college to back-to-back division two final four appearances, including the national championship in 2011.
He joined the Braves this season after a stint in the Queensland Basketball League.
He was the QBL's 2015 season most valuable player award winner, averaging 30 points and 6.5 assists with the Toowoomba Mountaineers.
Kendle is averaging 6.4 rebounds and 3.5 assists in his SEABL stint.
Harvey said there had been strong interest in Kendle from NBL clubs earlier in the season.
"It hasn't been as strong lately, but I really don't understand why," he said.
"He could play NBL, no question.
"It's all about opportunities, but obviously what Jeremy is focused on now is winning a national championship.
"He wants to go to higher levels, but his focus now is to win a championship at the Braves and I respect him for that."
Harvey, who has more than 500 games to his credit as a player and coach in the SEABL, has long maintained the Braves have the SEABL’s best two imports this season.
His claims are backed by raw statistics and the league’s best 19-3 win-loss record, with Damian Johnson also enjoying a stellar season, averaging 16.4 points, 9.1 rebounds and 3,9 assists.
Johnson leads the league with 52 blocked shots, 17 ahead of his nearest rival Geelong's Eric Gaff.