Clark Eriksson Fury will keep their Scottish Senior Men’s National League winning team together for the defence of their title.
All of the successful squad will return for the weekend’s match with Glasgow University, and headcoach John Bunyan hopes to add at least two new names to the roster.
Former Glasgow Rocks’ player Marten Malnieks is another addition to the squad and Lithuanian Tomas Venslauskasis is already on board for the champions.
Fans can get a first look at the new players on Saturday when Fury tip off against Glasgow University at its’ Stevenson sports centre. But Venslauskas may be a new man in competitive action, but not so for his team-mates.
“He came to us in January,” explained coach Bunyan, “but we missed deadline for signing him by days.
“He’s a good rebounder, and shows aggressive defence. Marten is a good three-point shooter and has a solid defence.”
He too is not unknown to his team-mates. In the summer in a three-on-three competition he partnered Jonny Bunyan, Greg Foussas and Ali Fraser to the Scottish title, and he also faced Fury in the Scottish Cup last year with Portleithen Panthers. Work commitments in the north-east means Melaneks may continue to spend some time there, but return to the champions’ higher level of basketball than the Panthers.
They are two new players but a third - from North America - is also a possibility for Fury.
“We are contacted a lot by agents who believe we are a professional team, and they have players to offer us, however we have contacts too who know the situation and that’s how some of these players arrive with us.”
Another contact - former Fury player David Foster’s ex-coach - has recommended Brandon Matano to the club. Fresh out of college, he’s exploring the idea of a gap year in the UK and Europe, but at present, no deal has been reached.
The headcoach also has high hopes for Greg Foussas this season, after a couple of years acclimatising to the game and work in Scotland.
“Greg has a lot of potential and we believe we can get more from him. He came through the set-up at Panathinaikos in Greece so the talent is certainly there.”
While Fury have strengthened, their rivals appear, on paper at least, to have weakened. Edinburgh Kings have lost Lee Reilly (who joins Ali Fraesr in Germany) and their talisman Ed Rekis.
“They will still be there or thereabouts,” predicts Bunyan. “We’re expecting Troon, St Mirren and Kings to continue as our challengers.
“However Saturday’s opponents Glasgiow Uni are always an unknown quantity - a lot depends on their student intake.
“As champions we know a lot of teams will be looking to beat us and take a scalp, but we feel we have strengthened over the summer and will look to give our up and coming players even more game time to help their development.”