BRAVES SIGNINGS TO DATE:
AT JUST 29-years-old, Chris Adkins is suddenly one of the elder statesmen at Bendigo Braves.
Following the retirement of former joint-captain Taylor Bell, only two-time national championship player Chris Hogan, at 34, is older.
Adkins, who’s entering his 10th season with the Braves, said he had no qualms accepting his veteran status within the team.
“I’m pretty much sitting up there in the old boys squad now, but I quite like bringing that extra bit of leadership and experience,” he said.
Adkins will turn 30 next month, but is coming off arguably his best of nine seasons at SEABL level.
With injuries restricting Bell to just six games and Hogan to 19 (sometimes in a bench role), he often assumed a starting role, averaging career-highs in points and rebounds.
With a fitter and more focused Hogan recommitting for a 16th season and an impressive recruiting spree netting imports Jeremy Kendle and Ray Turner and new point guard Indiana Faithful, Adkins is unsure exactly what his role will entail this season.
Recognised and respected for his team-first attitude, Adkins said he was happy to play whatever role he was assigned by coach Ben Harvey.
“Ideally I would like to start – there are not too many guys who’d say they prefer to come off the bench,” he said.
“But I understand different guys have different roles and Harves leans on me a lot to come in as that sixth or seventh man and bring a lot of energy and give the team a lift and get us moving.
“If he wants me to continue to come off the bench and play that role, I am more than happy to do that, but I really enjoyed the opportunity last season to spend time in the starting unit and get a run early and help set the tone for the game.”
Adkins was reluctant to dwell on a disappointing 2017 season for the Braves, other than to say the team might not have gelled as well as most expected.
But that did not limit them from flashes of brilliance, as evidenced in a convincing win over eventual national champions Mount Gambier and victories against conference champions Dandenong and conference grand finalists Nunawading.
While the return of 2016 league MVP Jeremy Kendle has been cause for much excitement in the Braves camp, Adkins was equally looking forward to the emergence of some of Bendigo’s bright young basketball stars headed by Jake Lloyd and Tanner Rayner.
“Tanner has had a couple of opportunities over the past couple of years and he’s a kid who’s always here putting in the work during an optional session,” he said.
“He is one of the younger guys who are consistently working in the gym on his strength – he’s made really good gains with his jump shot and ball handling in recent times.
“I can envision him in a similar role to myself if he really focuses on his defensive game.
“He can be a really valuable reserve for thus team and in the future move into a starting role.”