Expectations high for Albury-Wodonga Bandits import Rashad Hassan

ONE-TWO PUNCH: British Basketball League star Rashad Hassan will join the Albury-Wodonga Bandits in 2018 as they push to return to the playoffs.
ONE-TWO PUNCH: British Basketball League star Rashad Hassan will join the Albury-Wodonga Bandits in 2018 as they push to return to the playoffs.

ALBURY-WODONGA Bandits head coach Brad Chalmers has boldly declared the newly signed import combination of Rashad Hassan and Lamar Mallory will be “the best in the league”. 

The club announced the signing of Hassan, a 203-centimetre power forward/centre, on Tuesday morning.

A British Basketball League champion and Centre of the Year, the low-post powerhouse will form a potent one-two punch alongside Mallory.

Averaging 17 points and eight boards in three BBL seasons, Hassan shapes as one of the league's dominant big men.

Hassan has the size and basketball IQ to be a defensive presence for the Bandits, something the team sorely needs after finishing the 2017 season with one of the worst defensive ratings in the league.

The Bandits have found the BBL to be a valuable source of talent.

Rashad Hassan's 2016-17 highlight reel

Former SEABL All-Stars Cory Dixon and Donte Nicholas made their way to England's premier league after successful stints on the Border, while TJ Robinson was also recruited from the BBL for the 2017 season.

Interestingly, Hassan, Dixon and Robinson have all played against each other in the past two seasons.

Bandits head coach Brad Chalmers said the signing continued the trend of signing elite big men over the last few seasons.

With Hassan and Robinson sharing the same agent and the former looking for a change, a move to the Border made perfect sense.

Rashad can create his own shot, with him on the block next to Lamar cutting and slashing, it gives us the best big man combination in the league.

Brad Chalmers

“It’s another coup for us, to be able to get guys out of Europe isn’t easy, so once again we’ve been in the right place at the right time,” Chalmers said.

“Rashad has won Centre of the Year as an import, he’s won a BBL championship, so if that’s any indication of what he’ll provide we’re in good shape.” 

The 28-year-old will be a potent back-to-the-basket threat, boasting the ability to put the ball on the floor and create his own shot when required.

Alongside the driving and cutting skills of Mallory and the floor spacing from guards Deba George and Daniel Sepokas, the Bandits’ offence has incredible potential.

“Rashad can create his own shot, with him on the block next to Lamar cutting and slashing, it gives us the best big man combination in the league,” Chalmers said.

“I’ll put our two starting guards against anyone in the league as well, having those bookends is really exciting.”