HORSHAM basketball leaders are scouring the state for a tall import player as they plan for a season without premiership swingman Peter Brack.
Hornets coach Owen Hughan launched an 11th-hour recruiting bid last week after Brack, 22, confirmed plans to return to Eltham Wildcats in Basketball Victoria's Big V competition.
Hughan said finding another tall player was the only option for the Hornets if they wanted to be competitive in a new Victorian League premier competition.
"Because of the players we will be up against we can't afford to go into the competition short. We need to find someone around the 194-centimetre mark and it won't be easy," Hughan said.
Brack, a former under-18 all-Australian player, has played in the last three of Horsham Hornets' four premiership sides after rising through the ranks under Hughan as a junior. He returned to the Hornets
last year after playing a handful of games with the Wildcats, a comeback from a frustrating ankle injury at the crux of his decision to play with his home club.
The 193-centimetre sharpshooter said from Melbourne yesterday he was lining up for Eltham to try to prove himself in the Big V and was confident of winning a spot in a starting five as a shooting guard or a sixth-man swing.
"It's been good being back in Horsham but while I'm still young I had better try to go a bit further. I'm turning 23 in March and I want to see what I can do," he said.
Brack, who has graduated from tertiary studies as an occupational therapist, said he maintained a desire to play National League.
"I will be back in Horsham at some stage but I'll go through this year, see if I can stay injury free and then reassess things," he said.
"We started pre-season in November and I've been working pretty hard."
Hughan said Horsham would be `very, very small' if it couldn't find a replacement for Brack.
"The trouble is a lot of players have already committed themselves but we have our contacts on it," he said.
Hughan said Ballarat import Ben New was staying with the Hornets and disciplined guard Rhys Hughan had confirmed plans to travel back from Melbourne to play this year.
National star Aaron Bruce will play for Horsham for half the season and classy Shane McDonald for the home-and-away year before they both pursue basketball careers overseas.