EMERGING talent remains a focus of the Ballarat Miners as they rebuild for the 2013 South East Australian Basketball League season.
Hit hard by player losses, the Miners have signed Diamond Valley sharpshooter Kris Blicavs.
The 23-year-old was this year’s Big V Youth League most valuable player award winner – helping guide Diamond Valley into the championship first division grand final.
The signing of Blicavs also further enhances the corridor of Melton and Sunbury on Melbourne’s fringe as a key recruiting ground for the Miners.
Blicavs is originally from Sunbury, which also produced former Ballarat Holden Miners forward Ryan Barnes.
Blicavs is the second piece in Ballarat’s recruiting jigsaw, which is filling vacancies left by the departure of Barnes and Cam McCallum, Jared Scoines, Dan Joyce, and imports Tim Coenraad and Reggie Larry.
The Miners have also secured 211cm Chris Smith, 23, from SEABL rival Mount Gambier.
Barnes and McCallum are taking a break from basketball to play football with Learmonth in the Central Highlands league.
Scoines has returned home to the central coast of New South Wales; Joyce is living in Sydney and training with NBL team Sydney Kings; Coenraad is planning to take a break from basketball in the NBL’s off-season; and Larry is not returning from the United States to the Minerdome after arriving late last season as a replacement for injured Kodi Augustus.
Shaun Bruce (Carins Taipans), Kevin White (Sydney Kings) and young international Anthony Fisher are the only players who spent all last season on the Miners’ roster who are returning.
While Bicavs is waiting until early in the new year to relocate to Ballarat, he is already training with a Miners’ development squad.
Head coach Guy Molloy has been putting 12 youngsters through their paces for a month in a training regime he says will have them ready to step straight into a full-on pre-season program.
They also include Lindsay Cole, Sean Massey, Jeff Crowe and Ash Constable.
Molloy is delighted to have signed two tall young talents. Blicavs is 194cm.
He said with Diamond Valley being a strong program he had no doubt Blicavs, who he described as a “hoop junky”, was ready to step up to SEABL.
Molloy said with Ballarat not having the financial strength to match the SEABL’s bigger metropolitan-based teams, its best approach continued to be attracting young players who could be moulded to fit the Miners’ program – just as he had with the likes of Joyce, Barnes, Scoines, Bruce and McCallum in his three years with the team.
Blicavs says he is prepared for the challenge of the SEABL.