Illawarra Hawks forward Tim Coenraad hopes the crowd will embrace him when he suits up for the Ballarat Miners and returns to the Mars Minerdome for a one-off home game on Sunday.
Coenraad was a star for the Ballarat GMHBA Miners in 2012 and returns to the team to play in its South East Australian Basketball League clashes with Melbourne Tigers at Melbourne Sports and Aquatic Centre on Saturday, and Kilsyth Cobras at the Minerdome on Sunday.
He fills the void left by Miners players Craig Moller and Sam Short, who are in China playing exhibition matches with their National Basketball League team Melbourne United as part of preseason training.
Coenraad has spent his off season having a break from basketball after playing a grand final series with the Hawks in the National Basketball League earlier this year. But he admitted he has been itching to get back onto the court and could not pass up the opportunity when the Miners called.
Coenraad brings some added experience to the team and said his two goals were to be a positive influence and get the two wins.
“I’m not here to take over or step on any toes, I’m here to try and fit in seamlessly like I was part of the team the whole time,” he said.
“So whatever I can bring, whether it be rebounding, scoring, defence... whatever the team needs that’s what I’m here to do.”
Coenraad met the team at a training session on Thursday night after arriving in Ballarat on Thursday afternoon, and is returning to Illawarra straight after the game on Sunday to be with his wife and three children.
Between Thursday and Saturday night’s game, Coenraad is focused on learning as much about the Miners as possible before concentrating on what he called two “tough” opposition teams.
“The hardest thing is just to bring someone in for one weekend and develop that chemistry that I think this team has been able to find this year,” he said.
Coenraad said it was going to be fun to be back on court in front of a vocal Ballarat crowd and was most looking forward to being part of a team atmosphere again.
Short returns from China on Sunday morning and is a chance to play against Kilsyth Cobras on Sunday afternoon depending on jetlag and delays, while Moller does not arrive until late on Sunday afternoon and will not play until next weekend.
The Miners are second in the south conference with five wins and three losses. Two more wins this weekend would further cement their position ahead of Dandenong and Bendigo.