For someone who only spent the better part of five months in Ballarat, Illawarra Hawks forward Tim Coenraad could not be more excited for his return to western Victoria.
Coenradd, who played with the Miners in the former South East Australian Basketball League in 2012, said he has nothing but fond memories from his time in Ballarat.
"2012 was probably one of my fondest seasons to tell you the truth with that group of guys," he said.
"Ballarat's always been really nice to me... every time I've come back, they've really looked after me. I've had a fantastic experience with Basketball Ballarat and It's great to see the sport growing in the city."
Following his lone season with the Miners, Coenraad returned to the then Wollongong Hawks, where he would continue to grow his game, winning the team MVP in 2015.
The forward is hoping for a packed crowd when the Hawks face Melbourne United on Friday evening at the Ballarat Sports and Events Centre.
"I can't wait to see the new stadium... I'm just looking forward to a good atmosphere, as a basketball player that's what we all want."
"Hopefully we get a lot of people to the game and it's a packed house because Ballarat people get really excited for the sport and it's an exciting time in Ballarat basketball."
Being familiar with the often deafening Ballarat crowd, Coenraad is hoping his Illawarra teammates will be ready for the potentially hostile environment.
"Most of these guys have played at the highest level so I think they're used to loud crowds... what I have told them is just to enjoy the town because it's really nice and it might be the only time they come to Ballarat."
Reminiscing on some of the moments that stand out from his time in Ballarat, Coenraad laughed when thinking of the game he played with a self made nose-guard as the Miners made their push for a finals appearance.
Rather than missing the Miners' next contest, Coenraad sculpted a make-shift nose-guard out of baking clay and taped it to his head for the game.
"I couldn't get my nose-guard here in time so I ended up shaping a clay-based nose-guard and taping it too my face for the game."
"I was always going to play because I was just dedicated to that group of guys... they were really hard nosed and hard working."
Coenradd comes into Friday's game in good form, having scored 11 points off the bench for the Hawks in its pre-season opener against an Australian Indigenous All-Star team.
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