BENTLEY BACK BALLIN
THE Sherbrooke Suns have recruited another three-point gunslinger with former Warrandyte and Pakenham swingman, Jed Bentley linking with his former coach.
Bentley, 26, was spotted in the latter part of 2012 by now Suns Coach, Ryan Rogers playing in the second tier MMBL competition and ultimately made his BIG V debut for the new Suns mentor at Pakenham in 2013, where he tallied 4.6ppg and 2.9rpg in 14 mins per game.
“It was a steep learning curve being my first season playing Big V, but I made some long-term friends from the experience and enjoyed Ryan’s approach as coach, said Bentley.
Living in the Eastern suburbs, coupled with his brother coaching the Warrandyte Youth League Men, Bentley made the move in 2014 and while increasing his averages to 9.5ppg and 7.4rpg didn’t feel fulfilled finishing the season in sixth place with a 10-8 record, missing out on finals action.
“I enjoyed playing under my brother, but it was completely different in Youth League compared to men’s basketball. In hindsight, I didn’t make the most of my opportunities and the team just didn’t gel.”
In 2015, he was forced back into senior competition due to exceeding the Youth League age restriction and made the step to Warrandyte’s Division 1 Men’s roster, but was a bystander for much of the season.
“It was always going to be an apprenticeship year, but I rarely saw the court which was tough. I had one game with double digit points when I got the opportunity but felt pretty isolated.”
At the conclusion of the season, Bentley made the tough choice to walk away and focus on his career as he didn’t want to run the risk of watching from the sidelines for another season but hungry to play after a two-year absence, the news that his close friend had signed as Coach of the Suns was perfect timing.
“The time off definitely got the fire back in the belly. Playing locally each week with several of the guys and knowing the majority of the core group was a big reason for me coming back. Ryan gets the best out of players with a transparent approach that instils confidence to be yourself.”
As for what 2018 holds, Bentley is enjoying his new surrounds and eager to add to his 53 career BIG V appearances.
“It’s a roster that definitely has talent and potential. The chemistry is coming along but takes time with a whole new group of players. As long as we are playing through the system that’s been put in place I think the sky is the limit.”
Rogers said the 192cm perimeter threat adds an exciting edge to his roster.
“Jed is a confidence guy but it’s great to have a familiar face who knows my expectations and style. He has the ability to shoot the ball at an elite level but more importantly he’s matured since 2013 and confident at the level,” he said.
“His length will be important for us and gives us versatility with some non- traditional line-ups we may experiment with, but more importantly comes in wanting to be a leader with a voice in the new look squad.”