In a major coup the Melbourne Tigers have added 7’2” Australian Boomers squad member Luke Nevill and promising young American guard Eric Devendorf to their 2010/11 NBL roster. In a further boost, the club has also signed up and coming SEABL forward Lucas Walker for his first season in the NBL.
Following a successful college career with Utah (averaging 17.1 points, 8.1 rebounds, 1.4 assists and 2.6 blocks per game), Nevill was picked up by the Utah Flash in the NBA Development League and played 45 games last season (starting 40) where he averaged 11.6 points, 5.4 rebounds and 1.2 blocks per game.
At 24 years of age he is a perfect fit for the Tigers group of young emerging stars and with his legitimate size and presence inside at the centre position, he will be a great asset for the Tigers in 2010/11(subject to an NBA out clause). Nevill alongside Matthew Burston and Cam Tragardh will form one of the NBL’s biggest front courts.
Tigers Head Coach Al Westover was very excited with the addition of Nevill to the squad.
“The club and I are ecstatic at the signing of Luke – a player of his ability and promise is a major boost to our squad and another great step in the direction we are taking. We believe he can have a major impact on both the club and the league. Our bigs are taking shape and we are very excited with the squad we have assembled so far. When we first started talking to Luke we didn’t think we were a real chance of getting him with NBA and Europe opportunities around, however it is a real coup for the club that he chose to come play in Australia and for the Tigers.”
Hailing from Bay City in Michigan the 6’ 4” shooting guard had an outstanding college career at Syracuse averaging 14.5 points, 3.2 assists and 2.4 rebounds which had him poised as a potential NBA Draft candidate. Following college Devendorf had a brief stint in the NBA D-League before starting the current season in the New Zealand Basketball League. In 10 games in the NZBL, Devendorf is averaging 26.2 points, shooting 58% from the field (including 60% from the three point line), 3.2 rebounds, 3.9 assists and 2.4 steals per game.
Devendorf is only 23 years of age and his athleticism and shooting ability will be suited to his new teams famous shuffle offense. While Devendorf is able to handle the ball in the point guard position he is well known for his tremendous outside shooting. Although he is a consistent shooter from the outside, he is deceivingly quick off the dribble and has an uncanny ability to finish in the lane amongst much taller defenders.
Tigers Head Coach Al Westover was thrilled with the addition of Devendorf to the squad.
“Devendorf is an exciting talent who was a four year starter at Syracuse College in the US. He is a great athlete and will play as a combo guard in the two spot, and will also be able to play in the point position if needed. He is currently leading the New Zealand league in scoring and will provide perimeter punch and excitement, we see him as a big piece of the puzzle for the season ahead.”
Walker has been on the Tigers radar for a number of years after playing with the club’s junior program. He has drawn comparisons of a young and raw Sam Mackinnon type athlete. Walker worked with the AIS before heading to St Mary’s College in the US (same college as Patty Mills). Currently Walker is playing for Dandenong in the SEABL competition in Victoria, averaging 10.4 points, 6.7 rebounds and 1.7 assists per game in 12 games.
Tigers Head Coach Al Westover was pleased with the insertion of Walker into the squad.
“We have tried to get Lucas to the club for a number of years however he had the opportunity to attend St Mary’s college in the US. He is such a versatile athlete, we see great potential in him and believe he can develop into a premier player in the NBL. He is currently playing in the SEABL competition where he is one of the best athletes running around.”
Walker, currently training with the Tigers squad, was delighted to sign with the team.
“I have been lucky to be involved with the Tigers for 5 years and have been able to train with the Tigers in the college off season. I am privileged to be in the final 10. Al Westover and Warrick Giddey are great guys and have been instrumental in helping me develop. I can’t wait to train and play with the other young guys in the squad in Bennie Lewis and Tommy Greer.”
The Tigers squad for the 2010/11 season now contains Luke Nevill, Cam Tragardh, Matthew Burston, Eric Devendorf, Tommy Greer, Bennie Lewis & Lucas Walker with the remainder of the squad expected to be in place over the coming weeks. Nevill and Devendorf are expected to join the team in Melbourne at the start of August.
With the majority of the Tigers big men signed, the focus will now shift to the guard positions, where the Tigers are looking to fill the final import slot along with an Australian guard. Tigers veteran Daryl Corletto is on the short list of candidates along with 2009/10 squad member Mike Rose. The make up of the guard combination will depend on the starting point guard position, a position the Tigers feel is crucial to the structure of the overall squad.
Tigers memberships and ticketing information will be available in the coming weeks in conjunction with the release of the 2010/11 NBL fixture.
Stay tuned to www.tigers.com.au for all the latest information.