BASKETBALL: The Brisbane Bullets have brought home another well-credentialed player to help with their NBL comeback, Australian power forward Cameron Bairstow.
The 25 year-old, who has spent the past two seasons with the NBA’s Chicago Bulls, seeing very limited action but suiting up in 36 games, is a current member of Bullets coach Andrej Lemanis’ Boomers squad heading to Rio.
While the club’s front office may have got a little carried away describing the Runcorn-born, 206cm Bairstow as “one of the biggest player signings in NBL history”, he does return home with a solid college career with the University of New Mexico and having gained some valuable experience from spending time with the one the world’s great clubs.
Lemanis and Bullets boss Mitchell Murphy unveiled Bairstow at his former school, Anglican Church Grammar (Churchie), where he was presented with his playing singlet by students, including his younger brother, Sean.
“I remember growing up and watching this team so to be able to come back and help get the team going is exciting to me,” said Bairstow, who admitted he still had NBA aspirations.
“After two years of not playing much (with the Bulls) – and I feel I have to ability and talent to compete (in the NBA) – I really wanted to be somewhere where I could develop my game.
“My time with the Bulls I learned a lot about what I needed to do to be successful, the level of professionalism that’s required, and I want to build on that with Brisbane.”
Lemanis said Bairstow could impact a game in many ways with his high work rate, his rebounding and his ability to draw fouls on the way to the rim.
“He’s also good defensively and can help get teams into foul trouble,” he said.
His signing gives Brisbane a solid front court along with other bigs Daniel Kickert, Tom Jervis, Anthony Petrie and Mitchell Young.
The club though is still scouring the US for a quality shooting guard to join the back court with Adam Gibson and import Torrey Craig.
“Now we’ve signed Cameron we know how much we have left to spend and from my experience the longer you wait, the better value you get for your money,” Lemanis said.
“Right now everyone thinks they’re going to get an NBA contract or a big Euro contract so prices can be quite high but as those positions begin to fill up and reality sets in the market of players suddenly become much broader.”
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