ALBURY-WODONGA Bandits star Deba George has once again been selected to represent the Australian indigenous All-Stars.
George will join the talent-laden squad for the fifth annual series against the New Zealand Maori Men’s National Team in September.
The star guard is one of three former NBL players on the squad, with former Melbourne United and Cairns player Chris Patton and former Townsville Crocs guard Chris Cedar also on board.
Another player to watch is 16-year-old phenom Tamuri Wigness, a Torres Straight Islander who plied his trade for the Basketball Australia Centre of Excellence in the SEABL in 2018.
Wigness is also on the NBA radar, having accepted a scholarship to the NBA Global Academy and been one of the cornerstone's of the Under 17 Australian Crocs team at the FIBA U17 World Championships in July.
“Our staff are certainly excited about the blend of experience and youth we have in this year’s group,” Apunipima All Stars head coach Joel Khalu said.
“We’ve got some veteran guys who have performed well on New Zealand courts during previous tours and combining their skill-sets with the talent of our up-and-coming younger players, gives us a solid foundation to build our Trans-Tasman title defence on.
“Winning a fourth straight campaign is the goal, but definitely won’t be an easy feat.
“The New Zealand Maori side are big, athletic and play an extremely physical brand of hoops.
“We’ll need to match their level of toughness, particularly in the paint, if we want to be competitive.”
The Apunipima All-Stars have won the last three trans-Tasman challenges, with George playing a starring role.
The athletic combo guard will look to continue his solid form from his last campaign with the Bandits.
George impressed as the Bandits won their final three games of the season, falling narrowly short of a top eight spot.
He dropped two games of 19 points and dominated with 27 in the club's final match of the season, a home win against Kilsyth.
The quick and athletic backcourt-frontcourt combination of George and import Lamar Mallory made for a stunning highlight reel as the season wore on, despite the team's inconsistent performances.
The 2018 season was George's fourth with the Bandits, after joining in 2015 for an all-star season and helped the team to a conference title.