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NBL's rise won't stop now: Boomers coach

Brisbane coach Andrej Lemanis will need to find ways to improve his resurrected NBL side in what he anticipates will be an even stronger league.

NBL's rise won't stop now: Boomers coach

Brisbane coach Andrej Lemanis will need to find ways to improve his resurrected NBL side in what he anticipates will be an even stronger league.

Andrej Lemanis expects the standard of the NBL to keep rising thanks to the over-supply of Australians looking to return and join the league.

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The Brisbane and Australian coach says the NBL's ability to retain elite players like Melbourne's Chris Goulding and Sydney's Kevin Lisch, who may previously have headed overseas, has made it more desirable.


Allowing a third import player per team in 2016, part of a concerted effort to improve the professionalism of the league, has also raised the level.

That has lead to more of the country's best United States university graduates seeking a return home, rather than chase a contract in another country.

"It's been noticeable to me, in the off-season, that a lot of good college players are putting their names forward and we're having to say 'sorry, we're full'," Lemanis said.

"With that sort of demand, the standard is only going to keep going up.

"The professionalism and financing that's allowing some players like (former NBA and European league veteran) Dave Anderson to come back, and keep Goulding and Lisch, has meant the quality is outstanding."

The Bullets finished last in their NBL return earlier this year, the injury-hit squad eventually found out in what was a closely-fought season.

Torrey Craig, arguably the side's best in that failed campaign, has since been signed by NBA franchise Denver, while rivals Melbourne have built a formidable squad.

Now headed by Dean Vickerman, United boast dominant import pair Casper Ware and Casey Prather.

Ware and Prather join a star-studded line-up that features Rio Olympians Goulding and Anderson, last season's league leading rebounder Josh Boone, three-time NBL champion David Barlow and centre Majok Majok who recently tried out with the Dallas Mavericks.

Cairns coach Aaron Fearne told NBL.com last month that if United "don't win it all, there is a problem", but Lemanis is playing it cool ahead of the NBL Blitz pre-season tournament in Traralgon and Melbourne from Thursday.

"I don't get caught up in that and I'm not too stressed on what other teams are doing," he said.

"We will just be the best Bullets we can be."

Import small forward Perrin Buford will play for the Bullets after overcoming an illness, while back-up guard Shaun Bruce remains on the sidelines with an ankle injury.

Meanwhile, American small forward JP Tokoto has signed with defending champions Perth, according to Channel Ten and Fox Sports.


AAP



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