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Player signings for 2004 NBL season

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Subject: Player signings for 2004 NBL season

Aiming for the Stars again.

The Auckland Stars have re-signed most of last season’s semi-finals team.

Professional basketball players Casey Frank, Aaron Olson, and Lindsay Tait have re-signed to play for the Auckland Stars in the 2004 New Zealand National Basketball League season that begins in March.

All three players had been playing for the NZ Breakers in their inaugural Australian NBL season until Frank was unexpectedly released last week. Both Tait and Olson continue with the Breakers and will join the Stars once their current ANBL season ends. The trio are looking forward to return to the Stars for the 2004 NZ NBL season.

They join a line-up of other returning players Mike Homik, Reese Cassidy, Ben Valentine, Will Green, and Steven Bill. Forward Daniel Barritt has also signed to play for the Stars and is returning to basketball from an injury lay-off last season.

Rounding out the Stars playing roster are talented youngsters Joshua Clark, Stan Bidois, and Dylan Perfect-Tait. However the Stars management are still negotiating with a couple of players to fill the remaining pieces of the puzzle.

Auckland reached the semi-finals this season only to be beaten by two-time defending champions the Waikato Titans.

The Stars are hoping to recapture the team chemistry that led them to this year’s semi-finals. However the drive this year will be to go that one step further and win another championship. Auckland is one of the few teams in the league who have won multiple NBL championships.
In the last nine years they have won a record five titles.

However next year’s NBL season has been modified in order to make way for the Olympic Games being held during July in Athens, Greece. Some games have been scheduled midweek so that the full season can be compacted into four months from March to June. Therefore preparations for the season have already begun for the Stars with their first muster and training run being held on Saturday.

Head Coach Kenny Stone is back at the helm and is keen to make sure that the team have as much quality preparation as possible in the lead up to what will be a whirlwind season judging by the draw.

Basketball captured the imagination of a nation when the Tall Blacks challenged for the 2002 World Championships in September. And now local fans will be able to see most of those same Tall Blacks in action for their club teams every week during the New Zealand NBL.

The Stars season tips off on Saturday night March 13 with a local derby against cross-town rivals Harbour Heat. As always this rivalry presents an exciting match-up with the winner prizing the “Battle of the Bridge” trophy won last year by the Auckland Stars.

In a move to accommodate more basketball fans to their home games next season the Auckland Stars will shift back to their former stomping ground, ASB Stadium in Kohimarama.

ENDS

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