WAYNE Creek is back for a second stint coaching the Goldfields Giants and with Jay Bowie back to try to recreate the magic of 2015 and a handy band of fellow recruits, there’s reason to suggest plenty of wins will be coming the way of Kalgoorlie in 2019.
Creek did coach the Giants previously back in 2010 and then for half of 2011 before he had to step away from the role and ended up moving to Perth.
But he has since returned to Kalgoorlie, has been assistant coach and also coached the Giants’ Division 1 team ahead of putting up his hand to return as head coach in 2019 when Scott Rubery decided he wouldn’t be seeking a second season in charge.
So the popular local is back in the main chair with the Giants as they look to make a surge up the table to call on some of the spirit of 2015 when Bowie was part of the group that finished strongly to take eighth spot and then stun the Geraldton Buccaneers in the first round of the playoffs.
Bowie headlines the recruits for the Giants returning to Kalgoorlie having continued playing in the league for three playoff seasons with the Willetton Tigers over the past three years.
Marquis Salmon arrives with a strong reputation to fill in the power forward spot too as an import while South Australian David Humphries has a second crack at coming to the SBL after injury derailed his initial signing for the Giants back in 2017.
With Manylok Malek and Fletcher Klasztorny other handy signings too, there’s plenty of optimism floating around the Giants entering 2019 even though they did lose their three best players from 2018 – Jeylyn Sharpe, Kyle Sovine and Jake Martin.
For Creek, he is just humble and grateful for the chance to have a second go around coaching the Giants in 2019 and is hopeful and confident of leading them a rise back up the table.
“The chance to take on an increased role in the Giants has been a desire of mine if the opportunity ever arose, so I would like to thank the Giants’ hierarchy for putting their faith in me as they move forward into their 30th season in the league,” Creek told goldfieldsgiants.com.
“I feel I can provide the club with some stability and consistency going forward. The club has a bright future with some great young talent being unearthed over the last couple of years.
“With the return of past players combined with some heavy recruiting, I feel that we can take the next step to bring the Giants back to the playoffs.”
As for some of the new arrivals, Creek is more than happy to add a local with the tremendous upside of Malek along with two imports the quality, calibre and character of Salmon and Bowie.
“We were impressed with Mayo’s rebounding and shot blocking ability. He’s a high energy player with the ability to run the floor so we’re excited to have been able to recruit him,” Creek said.
“We’re excited to be able to add someone with the ability and character that Jay can bring to the club. He’s a proven star in this league with a great work ethic and it will be a great addition to the Giants, both on and off the court.
“Marquis looks like an ideal fit for our current team make up. He’s a tough rebounder and defender, has good size and should anchor that middle for us for the season. He’s high energy and should fit in well alongside our new and returning players. I think Giants fans will really love him and what he brings to the club.”
Salmon arrives in Kalgoorlie fresh off his college career which he completed at Texas South University last year and the stop in the SBL is the first professional contract he has taken up.
The 24-year-old Californian proved himself a strong all-round player in the front court throughout his college career, including an NCAA Division 1 season-high 23 rebounds, and now he’s looking forward to bringing plenty of energy to the Giants in 2019.
“As a player I see myself as someone who does a little bit of everything on the court – pass, dribble, score, defend and rebound. I’m trying to work on the complete aspect of my game as much as possible,” Salmon said.
“I fit in with the modern day game as the hybrid four man type as I can put it on the floor, get in the post, shoot the pick and pop and even guard most positions.
“As a teammate I’m very easy going, a bit energetic and I love seeing the success for others as well as myself. I hope to bring the energy and my skill set in which every way possible to win games this season.”
Malek is another player the Giants can expect big things from in 2019. The Sudanese-born Australian has spent the last four years in the QBL which included him improving to 14.8 points and 11.0 rebounds a game last season with the Toowoomba Mountaineers.
He now arrives in Kalgoorlie to join the Giants to continue the upward trajectory of his basketball career at just 24 years of age.
“I believe I’ll bring energy, hustle and resilience to the Giants. I love to protect the rim and I think I provide versatility at both ends of the floor,” Malek said.
“In preparation for the move to the new league I did a lot of weights work and I got in the gym with one of my mates who has played college ball. This, as well as working with a skill coach and strength and conditioning coach is helping me improve my game.”