LUCAS Walker is in the best pre-season shape he has been in for a long time.
Time in camp and a tour of China with the Australian Boomers have been key factors and he says being injury free has been a bonus.
Melbourne United officially launched its National Basketball League pre-season last week. Walker is enjoying the chance to spend week two in a five-day community stay in Ballarat, in particular on his old floor at the Minerdome.
United players focused on offensive work last week and attention now is on defensive work.
“We’re still learning the principles of how we want to play,” Walker said. “...(Boomers) was awesome. I learned a lot and feel I am better as a player. I’ve had a good off-season ... and start pre-season in great shape, all ready to go.”
Walker is vying to back up a standout NBL season he had with the club, formerly Melbourne Tigers, after fine-tuning his form with Ballarat Miners in last year’s South East Australian Basketball League season.
The club will play its first practice game under the United banner at the MARS Minerdome on Friday night against last season’s NBL grand finalist Adelaide 36ers.
“It’s been interesting. A lot of people were upset with the re-naming and it was a bit of a shock to me, but it was made with good intentions,” Walker said.
United players have a busy schedule of school clinics and community engagements about Ballarat between training sessions.
Walker, who found himself driving the team van about Ballarat, led a year 10 fitness class at Ballarat High School on Tuesday. Student Zack Fiegert, who plays with Bacchus Marsh Lions in the Victorian Junior Basketball League, said it was fantastic to see players in person and step up the skills standard in class.
Meanwhile, former Ballarat Miner Anthony Fisher was quick to catch attention in Perth Wildcats fitness testing on Tuesday. The newly-signed NBL development player topped the 20-metre sprints, agility and the dreaded suicides and was top-three in vertical jump and the yo-yo test.