ALBURY-Wodonga Bandits recruit Jamar “Deuce” Briscoe is confident he can help the Border club rebound from a disappointing SEABL title defence last season and return to the playoffs this year.
The Bandits unveiled their latest import playmaker yesterday and the 177-centimetre guard said he felt “no pressure” despite being Albury-Wodonga’s fourth US backcourt signing in three years.
Following championship-winning guard Jazz Ferguson’s defection to Bendigo last season, the Bandits signed Eric Vann but sacked him after a wildly inconsistent start to the campaign and replaced him with New Jersey native Jermel Jenkins.
And while Jenkins performed solidly enough on court, the Bandits were clearly looking for a more rounded package when it came to finalising the squad for this year.
Briscoe comes to the Bandits from Kentucky's University of Pikeville, having averaged 22.7 points, 3.6 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 2.1 steals in 2012-13 for the Bears, earning All-NAIA 1st team and Mid-Coast Conference player of the year honours.
With the Border outfit intent on ensuring last year’s fall from contention was a one-off, Briscoe said “anything can happen” once the Bandits were back in the post-season mix.
“I’m just trying to take it one day at a time,” Briscoe said.
“I’m here to work hard and we’ll see from there.
“I definitely want to make the playoffs and from there, anything can happen.
“I wouldn’t call it pressure; I want to make the playoffs and I want to win.
“The more you play in the playoffs the more you get paid, so I don’t see it as pressure.”
Click on the video below to see highlights of Briscoe's play at the University of Pikeville. (iPhone users go to the Video tab in Menu.)
Having endured a nightmare season that saw the Bandits end up using a record four import players, coach Brad Chalmers admitted he had scouted Briscoe extremely carefully.
The 23-year-old will be expected to provide scoring, playmaking and leadership in abundance, attributes Chalmers said were clearly evident from what he had seen.
“We’ve gone through the wringer over the past year with changes,” Chalmers said.
“The key ingredients were someone who could score, lead the offence, a good communicator and off the court making sure they were a good team player, a good character guy.
“We felt that Deuce was really good in those areas; it’s an inexact science, this recruiting.
“You’re taking a risk at times but you put your faith in these guys and hope they can deliver.
“Precedent-wise, obviously everyone still talks about Jazz (Ferguson) so we’d be silly not to try to get those same things back again.
“We know what works around the league and we feel like we’ve got someone who has all those attributes.
“And he’s (Briscoe) under no illusions that we require both parts (on- and off-court) of the package so the rest of it is in his court to deliver.”