North-West Thunder add firepower with first two signings ahead of 2017 SEABL season

The North-West Thunder has added some firepower to their line-up with the addition of two new recruits for season 2017.  Australian point guard Daniel Sepokas and American import Akeem Richmond have joined the SEABL team as Coach Sam Armstrong’s first new additions following his appointment. 

Armstrong said the loss of point guard stocks had to be addressed first with Mason Bragg joining the Perth Wildcats and also confirming Lachie Barker would not be returning to the side. “First and foremost these two guys certainly fit into the system we want to play and I’m excited to have them joining our program,” Armstrong said.  “With the losses to our point guards we have had to explore some options and it left a bit of a hole.

“We have retained our core spread of guys and the two guard spots are really important in the SEABL and we are very happy to have recruited these guys.” 

Sepokas has experience playing in the SEABL where he spent the 2015 season with Albury/Wodonga and was also MVP and an All-Star 5 member of the NSW Waratah League in 2014.  Prior to that he spent four years at NCAA Div II School, Lees-McCrae College and Armstrong said the 6”3 talent would take the reigns as the Thunder’s guard. 

“Daniel has previously played in the SEABL and that experience was really important to us.  “He comes in as an experienced guard at 26 and will take the responsibility of running our system.”

Richmond is an American professional who joins the Thunder from the Reno Bighorns of the NBA Development League and played college for the University of Rhode Island and East Carolina where he was a specialist three-point shooter.  The 6”0 combo guard recorded the most three-pointers in the 2013/14 season among all college players with 81 trebles for the year. 

Armstrong said Richmond would hopefully add the scoring punch the Thunder needed.  “Akeem is a knock down shooter and is exactly what we need.  “He spent two years in the D-League and had a really good collegiate career where he was a real perimeter threat.

“We hope both Akeem and Daniel can share responsibility as both are versatile through that guard area and both have scoring power as well.”   Armstrong was hopeful the pair would arrive in Tasmania in late January or early February, in time for the 2017 NWBU season and with enough time to get a strong pre-season with the team. 

With the loss of imports Gary Johnson, Garrett Jackson as well as local players Mason Bragg and Lachie Barker, a new-look Thunder will take to the court next season.  Armstrong said recruitment was still a focus for the Thunder with one or maybe two players still to join the team.  “We still need to address our ‘big’ spot for next season and are looking at our options there.

“We will definitely bring in one big and it could possibly be two, depending on how things go with recruiting.”

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