FOUR South East Australian Basketball League teams will take to the court in Horsham next month as part of a pre-season round-robin tournament.
Ballarat Miners, Nunawading Spectres, Bendigo Braves and Mt Gambier Pioneers will all be in Horsham on February 22 and 23 for the exhibition tournament.
There are four matches planned for February 22 and another two on February 23, although times are not yet finalised.
The top two teams will play in the final for the Graham Adams Cup, named in recognition of the former Horsham Hornet who was killed in a car accident in 2007.
Nunawading and Mt Gambier played in last season's SEABL grand final, which was won by the Pioneers with a three-pointer at the buzzer. Horsham Amateur Basketball Association president Dean Lakin said the exhibition tournament was a win for basketball in the region and the Horsham public.
"This is a significant coup for our association and the City of Horsham, as these are all high-quality teams and this will be some of the best basketball that has been played in Horsham for a number of years," he said.
"We look forward to welcoming these quality basketball sides to Horsham and having as many people as possible attending to make this a great basketball weekend for the participating teams and our community."
Plans to host the tournament in Horsham have been in the works for more than two months and it is supported by former Horsham basketballer and reigning SEABL MVP Shane McDonald.
McDonald will play in the tournament as Nunawading's captain.
Tournament organiser and Active After-school Communities regional co-ordinator Murray McKenzie said it was good to see McDonald returning to support his home town.
"We're very lucky with Shane being a local guy who wants to put back in to basketball in Horsham," he said.
"He's worked hard with the basketball association to make this happen."
McKenzie said McDonald and the Nunawading side would run school clinics on the Friday prior to the tournament in conjunction with Active After-school Communities.
"This is a great opportunity for our primary school students to receive coaching and advice from top quality basketball players and hopefully inspire them to join the association," he said.
Horsham product Shaun Bruce captains Ballarat Miners but is unlikely to play in the tournament because of NBL commitments.
McKenzie said while not many players with NBL duties were likely to play, there would still be plenty of star power on the court.
All international imports signed by the four teams will be cleared to play, including new Bendigo Braves acquisition Dustin Salisbery.
The 195-centimetre American guard attended Temple University and has NBA Summer League experience with Philadelphia 76ers and Los Angeles Clippers.
He most recently played for NBA Development League team Delaware 87ers and averaged 8.5 points, four rebounds and 2.3 assists a game.
McKenzie said Salisbery and imports from the other teams would make a big impact in Horsham.
"I reckon it's pretty exciting for Horsham baksetball and the Wimmera community in general," he said.