Thunder ready to fire

‘Shaq’ Riak (Keilor Basketball)

Tara Murray

Keilor Thunder is hoping a new mix will help it rise up the National Basketball League 1 South men’s ladder.

It will be a new look Thunder line up this season, with a number of changes to the squad that will again be coached by Liam Glascott.

Glascott said it had been a mixed pre-season while waiting to get their whole squad together.

He said they were focused on putting the right players around their young guys to help them thrive.

“It’s just around the corner,” he said. “We had the blitz on the weekend which was good and we got two wins.

“It was about winning though. Our preparations has been interrupted waiting for guys to arrive.

“We’ve used that to work out what the young guys can do at the next level.

‘“We still have three, maybe four players to come in.”

Glascott said the younger guys had shown some good signs that they were progressing and can step up when needed to. They’ve done a fair bit of work in the pre-season while waiting for the others to arrive.

He said Cruz Beasley continues to get better, including with his jump shot, while still playing a role defensively.

Nick Banon has another pre-season under his belt at that level, but his body hasn’t held up.

Cooper Duff-Tytler has been another that has shown some signs.

“He is in the mix for the Australian under-17 team,” Glascott said. “He hasn’t played a lot with other commitments but one game on the weekend he scored eight points in 10-12 minutes.”

Another young one is Daniel Poelsma, who has joined the Thunder this season.

Glascott said he has provided a real spark in the pre-season.

“He hit five threes in one quarter and was very handy for us,” he said. “Whether he starts of comes off the bench he’ll be an x-factor.”

Kyle Zunic arrived just before the blitz and had an instant impact at the blitz with his ability to run the show.

Jalen Gibbs and Trevor Lakes have both had impacts as well.

Glascott said Kunay Kuaney would return this season after playing just four games last season. He is part of the South Sudan Nationals team that will play in the Olympics.

Shaq Riak has spent the pre-season rehabbing from injury.

Glascott said they would have someone coming back from college that would add height, but won’t join the team until May.

He said they were hoping to sign another tall, who had been training with them.

Glascott said they had a good season in 2023 and they wanted to build on that this year.

“We had a good year last year before injuries towards the end,” he said. “I feel like we’ve made some adjustments to the group.

“Kyle brings that leadership in the guard position and has been a good focal point around the young guys,

“The team dynamic is good and it’s only onwards and upwards. The goal is to win a championship ad to be in playoffs.”

The Thunder starts its season on Friday against the Frankston Blues.