Buccs sign NBL Slam Dunk Champion, Bennie Lewis
New Sun City Plumbing Geraldton Buccaneers signing Bennie Lewis is likely to miss the first six games of the 2014 SBL season.
Buccaneers coach Mark Heron confirmed the signing on the weekend, but said Lewis’ NBA D-League commitments would cause the high-flying forward to arrive in Geraldton during April.
Lewis, who signed with the Fort Wayne Mad Ants for the D-League season, played for the Perth Redback as a restricted player last season after time in the NBL.
He opted to play overseas during the Australian summer which means he will not occupy a restricted player spot on the Buccs’ roster.
Heron was happy with the signing after the 2012 NBL Slam Dunk contest winner scored 31 and 29 points against Geraldton in two meetings last season.
“He will get a few more people through the gate and he can score the ball,” he said.
“Having Bennie makes up for a bit of the scoring he lost with Rob (Kampman) not returning.
“His athletic ability allows us to move him around and play in different positions and the up tempo game we want to play suits him.”
Heron said the recruitment would also benefit the junior players in town.
Lewis will take on the head coaching role of the Mid West Basketball Academy once he arrives in town.
Heron will still overlook the program, but said Lewis’ involvement would fast track junior development.
“He is really into his coaching and will really be good for the whole community, which is important in a town like Geraldton,” he said.
With Lewis’ late arrival, Heron said the team’s second import must be available to play from week one.
The Buccs have a December 16 deadline for signing a player to accompany American Carter Cook.
Heron said a low post player remains the priority.
“We have three guys we are looking at, at the moment and we want to make a decision soon,” he said.
“A player that can play back to the basket, but still run the floor well is what we are after.
“We are happy with the roster we have at the moment and preseason is going well also.”
Guard Daniel Thomas is expected to move back to Perth and continue his SBL career with a city-based team.
Heron said the move was not official, but he expects the dynamic scorer to play elsewhere in 2014.
Article by Taylor Courtland
Photo by Serene Maisey