MELBOURNE United is planning to send an early message to National Basketball League rivals in Ballarat next week.
And what better way to do that than against last season’s NBL grand finalist Adelaide 36ers – the team which ended Melbourne’s 2013-14 championship hopes in the semi-finals.
Formerly known as the Tigers, the rebranded United is determined to atone for that outcome in a practice game against Adelaide at Ballarat’s Minerdome on Friday, August 15 – the climax of a five-day community camp in the city.
Although only early in pre-season, United’s general manager of basketball excellence, Frank Arsego, says with expectations high for the season ahead there is a determination to make an immediate impact.
While Melbourne is still to announce its imports, it has already made two major signings, securing David Barlow and Daryl Corletto, and they will be on show at the Minerdome.
Coach Chris Anstey has not only secured two outstanding talents in Barlow and Corletto, but they are players who know all about winning championships.
Barlow has returned to Australia after four years in Spain and one in Poland.
The former Australian Boomer is a three-time NBL championship player with Melbourne Tigers and Sydney Kings.
Corletto returns to Melbourne after three years with New Zealand Breakers, looking to add to two titles with the Tigers and another two with NZ.
Arsego said Barlow and Corletto were exciting acquisitions and Ballarat basketball fans would see why as they combine with the likes of Australian representatives Mark Worthington and Lucas Walker.
Asergo says Melbourne United is excited about the Ballarat visit, which starts on Monday.
“We’re looking forward to engaging with the basketball community.”
United will have training sessions each day of the community camp as well as team meeting in which season goals and expectations will be set out.
Monday: community player signings, 4pm
Tuesday: school visits, 2pm
Wednesday: community breakfast, 8am; civic reception 1pm; clinic and Aussie hoops 3pm and 4pm
Thursday: clinic and elite coaching clinic 3pm and 4pm
Friday: sports forum, 1pm