Perth Wildcats Guarantee Ben Purser 2011 Involvement

 

Perth Wildcats coach Rob Beveridge has guaranteed Perry Lakes Hawks forward Ben Purser an involvement with the five-time NBL champions this year.

Purser, the son of former Footscray and WA State of Origin AFL ruckman Andrew Purser, has returned to Perth after one season in the US with Augusta State University.

"We do have one contracted spot to fill and he (Purser) is definitely on the shortlist of players," Beveridge told thewest.com.au.

"Worst-case scenario he will be a development player for us. He will have an involvement for sure, but as of today he has not signed a contract."

Purser's decision to turn his back on a US college career was a shock to Augusta coach Dip Metress.

"It's the danger of recruiting guys with accents," Metress told the Augusta Chronicle. "It's never good to lose a player of his calibre this time of the year."

Purser was Augusta's fourth-leading scorer last year, averaging 7.7 points a game.

He has averaged 18.1 points and 8.2 rebounds per game with Perry Lakes this season and starred with 22 points as the Hawks beat Stirling in the first game of their SBL quarter-final series last week.

He is on a shortlist of players at the Wildcats that includes three members of last season's extended squad - Greg Hire, Tom Jervis and Everard Bartlett.

The Wildcats also have enough points available to sign another import but will be restricted by salary cap restraints.

SBL imports Lee Roberts, Luke Payne and Ben Beran are the leading candidates but they are more likely to sign a local product.

"Right now we're probably going to go down the path of signing a local guy out of the SBL and keeping that second import spot up our sleeves," Beveridge said.

Purser would have been Augusta State's starting small forward this season and was not the only Australian to leave the Jaguar program.

Assistant coach Robbie McKinlay has returned home and will pursue a similar role at the professional level in Australia
Article- Shayn Hope
Photo - Travis Hayto



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