COLAC Kookas officials are confident they have put together a team capable of contending for a Country Basketball League title this season.
The Kookas had a big hole to fill during the off-season with young guns Jordan Lingard and Joel McFall accepting American college scholarships, while Marcus Larcombe and Matt Williamson have parted ways with the Kookas.
But emerging Geelong Supercats guard Lewie Varley, 21, and his brother and former state basketballer Emerson Varley, 23, come into the team with big raps from Colac coach Keith Harrison.
“Emmo has played state basketball, he was a good junior point guard and he’s been in the Supercats program in the past but taken time off basketball to concentrate on uni,” he said.
“Lewie will take Marco’s spot, Lewie’s a very talented basketballer and there’s no telling what he might do in this league.
“He will be part of the Supercats in the SEABL again next year, that’s why he’s come to Colac to work on his game over summer.”
Former Corio Bay Stingrays forward Steven Packer, 23, and Colac junior Morgan Fenton, 17, have also joined the team.
“Steve will hopefully fill Jordy’s role, he’s worked his butt off at practice so far,” Harrison said.
“And Morgan will add depth at the guard position, for a young kid coming into the program he’s picking up the structures really well, he’s progressing faster than I thought he would,” he said.
Talls Liam McInerney, Justin Williamson and Ben Martin, and guards Sam and Jack Barrow will return from last season, while Matt Lucas and Matt O’Dowd are in the mix once they recover from injury.
Lucas, O’Dowd, Martin, Lewie Varley and Sam Barrow will be unavailable for the Kookas’ first games of the season this weekend – an away double header against reigning conference champion Mount Gambier and Portland.