Southland Sharks star Brian Conklin has signed to play for the Townsville Crocodiles again in the 2014-15 Australian National Basketball League.
The American power forward impressed in his first professional contract with the Sharks in New Zealand's NBL last year which caught the interest of the Townsville Crocodiles.
Conklin signed with Townsville for the 2013-14 season and while the team struggled, Conklin himself was a standout player.
He was voted into the All-NBL second team last season and averaged 16.3 points and 4.8 rebounds per game.
Crocodiles coach Shawn Dennis said retaining Conklin had been high on the club's agenda since the end of last season.
"We felt like we made progress last season and Brian was a big part of that. He gives us an interior target and a low-post presence on offence," Dennis told The Townsville Bulletin.
"Brian is the ultimate professional and everything you want from an import. He works harder than most in the league and the way he conducts himself is exactly what I look for in a player."
Conklin said he was delighted to get the opportunity to return to play for Townsville in the ANBL.
"Kristina and I are very excited to be returning to the great community of Townsville," he said.
Conklin's signing with an Australian NBL team again has helped Southland's chances of getting him back for the third season in the New Zealand NBL next year.
If he had opted to head to a competition somewhere in Europe it would have probably dashed Southland's hopes of retaining him given the timing of the competitions.
However, with the Australian league finishing close to the start of the New Zealand league it keeps the door open for the Southland Sharks to retain probably their best player during the past two seasons.
- The Southland Times