ANOTHER familiar face will return to the court for the Albury-Wodonga Bandits next season.
Lamar Mallory, a 201-centimetre forward who last played for the club in 2014, is the Bandits’ first import signing ahead of the 2018 season.
Despite opting to sign eventual SEABL all-star Cory Dixon ahead of him for the 2015 season, the club maintained a strong interest in him.
During Mallory’s 2014 stint he averaged a respectable 17 points and 11 rebounds as a 24-year-old in what was his first professional gig out of college.
Since then, Mallory has spent two seasons with Licher Basket Baeren in Germany’s Pro-B League, posting an impressive 16.8 points and 10 rebounds in the 2016-17 season.
Head coach Brad Chalmers said that, similar to fellow returning player Daniel Sepokas, the Bandits had maintained their interest in Mallory, even attempting to lure him back for the 2017 season.
“It’s probably evident that we’ve tried to get guys back into the mix who either have SEABL experience, or a relationship with us as a club,” he said.
“It was one of those things (in 2014) where Lamar came in during a difficult time as an individual, getting off the plane and basically going straight to the court.
“We thought he did really well fighting those challenges at the time.
“We’ve kept track of his personal development as well as his basketball development, and he’s shown a lot more maturity in all aspects.”
As the Bandits 2014 season drew to a close, Mallory publicly expressed a desire to return to the club.
While a reunion simply hasn’t worked out over the last two seasons, Chalmers said he was excited to see what a more mature Mallory could bring to the squad.
“He loved Australia and he loved being here, from a coaching standpoint we had a good relationship but it was tough to get him acclimatised in the short amount of time we had.
“At that time he’d never been overseas, and never really been outside of Ohio.
“He a little more worldly now, he’s been finding his way as a man, and his all-around game has improved a lot as a result of that.
“He still has that incredible athleticism that people who saw him will remember fondly, but his overall understanding of the game, the x’s and o’s, has been where he has improved.”
Mallory will provide athletic offensive punch, as well as maintaining the defensive reputation he established during his brief tenure on the Border.
A power forward by trade, Mallory will likely switch between both forward spots and even spend some minutes at centre as part of small-ball line-ups.
The Bandits won nine games in 2017.