Waikato Pistons add Casey Frank to firepower
The Waikato Pistons have added Tall Blacks veteran Casey Frank to what promises to be a competitive roster for the coming NBL season.
Frank, who has been in the limelight recently due to a surprise stint with the New Zealand Breakers, is set to join new Pistons coach Pero Cameron for the 2014 National Basketball League season starting in April.
Frank played for Cameron in the NBL at the Wellington Saints for four seasons, winning two championships, while the duo have previously been team-mates at the Breakers and with the New Zealand national team.
The 36-year-old naturalised American power forward recently returned to the Australian NBL with the Breakers as a fill-in with centre Alex Pledger out injured and has impressed in his performances with the three-time defending champs.
Frank's signing will give the Pistons a highly competitive front-court, with promising teenager Jack Salt and Cairns-based forward Zac Carter also part of a new-look line-up in Cameron's first year as coach after leaving the Saints.
The 17-year-old Salt, a development player with the Breakers, averaged 8.6 points and 5.4 rebounds for the Super City Rangers in last season's NBL in just 19 minutes per game.
The 2.05-metre New Zealand under-20 representative is set to play his first season of US college hoops later this year at the University of Virginia but should be available for the majority of Pistons matches.
Carter, who has had short stints in the Australian NBL with the Gold Coast Blaze and Cairns Taipans. He'll join Nick Barrow, a dependable power forward who averaged 4.3 points and 4.4 rebounds with the Pistons last year.
The Waikato franchise is also hoping to again have the services of young Tall Blacks guard Tai Webster, who is playing in the NCAA division one competition with the University of Nebraska.
Webster played for the Pistons last season and should return for the majority of the upcoming season unless he has to attend summer school at college. The 18-year-old has averaged 26.2 minutes in his freshman season at Nebraska, with 5.6 points, 2.4 assists and 2.2 rebounds per game.
The Saints will replace Frank with fellow Tall Black BJ Anthony, who played for the Otago Nuggets last season and currently turns out in the ANBL for the Adelaide 36ers.