BALLARAT Miners will line-up a much stronger unit in Canberra on Friday night.
Reigning most valuable player Roy Booker and young Australian representative Sam Short join the travelling party after being overseas for the GMHBA Miners’ opening round loss to Bendigo.
Booker was in the United States for family reasons, while Short played in the Albert Schweitzer Under-18 Tournament in Germany.
They will suit up for the the Miners for the first time this season against the Basketball Australia Centre of Excellence on Friday night and Canberra Gunners on Saturday night.
This will be the CoE’s first outing, with most of its frontline players having been with Short in Germany.
Only a win will do for the Miners in this encounter against the nation’s best teenagers.
Miners head coach Eric Hayes has had plenty to work on during the week.
He carried a significant amount of the blame for Ballarat’s lack-lustre start against the Braves, saying he did not believe he had prepared his players well enough.
As badly as they started, the Miners did begin to show something in the second half – at least matching on the scoreboard despite the game almost being out of reach.
Recruit Earnest Ross indicated he could be an excitement machine as an outside shooter and big import Ollie Bailey ran himself into the ground in a stellar performance.
However. like all their teammates they will need to be more consistent over four quarters.
Booker will naturally make a big difference. That goes without saying, given he averaged 25 points last season.
He will need major support from Ash Constable, Chris Smith and Dyson King-Hawea to ensure Ballarat makes the start in the doubleheader it needs to ignite its season.
Youngsters Ross Weightman and Tristan Fisher, who shot the lights out in a Big V youth men’s division one game on Sunday, will also make the trip.
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