The Collie Crane Hire South West Slammers have pulled off a major recruiting coup by wooing Goldfields Giants combo guard Ty Harrelson to Bunbury on a three-year deal.
Harrelson, 32, will join the Slammers as playing coach in a significant boost to the club’s flagging men’s program.
The American’s signature will go part of the way to filling the void left by coach Greg Worthington and imports Senario Hillman and Carlos White — none of whom will be at the club next season.
During his two years in the SBL Harrelson, who suited up for the Giants last season and played for Cockburn in 2011, has been widely regarded as part of the competition’s elite.
He averaged almost 20 points a game for Goldfields and was named as a small forward in the SBL’s 2012 All Star Starting Five.
Harrelson also won the SBL Point Guard of the Year title in 2011 after he helped the Cougars, who had missed the play-offs the previous season, make a semifinal series.
Despite also being an assistant coach with the Giants, Harrelson said the chance to take on a senior coaching position had been a major drawcard.
His father coached the West Virginia University women’s team in the NCAA Division One while his mother, sister and brother-in-law are also coaches.
‘‘I come from a long line of coaches — it is kind of in my blood,’’ Harrelson said.
‘‘The opportunity to do it and hopefully improve the Slammers over the next three years was definitely attractive.’’
While his coaching appointment has been a major coup, club officials anticipate Harrelson will provide a much-needed injection of experience to the Slammers’ roster.
On the court, the veteran’s talents can’t be underestimated.
He scored 20 points or more on 13 occasions last season, while his mammoth 50-point haul for Cockburn against the Perth Redbacks in the 2011 play-offs was one of the best individual performances in recent history.
Despite conceding his new role would be challenging, Harrelson said he was confident of helping the club, which has won three consecutive wooden spoons, be more competitive.
‘‘I am going to do my best to have us prepared,’’ he said.
‘‘I am not promising anything other than I am going to give it 100 per cent andthat I am goingto expect the same from our team.’’
Harrelson said he had already spoken to several contacts about how to approach the task of having both on and off-court roles.
‘‘They gave me some good advice on how to handle in-game strategy,’’ he said.
‘‘I think preparation will be vital — we have to have a plan going into every game.’’