Saffin returns to Seahawks inspired

WARRNAMBOOL basketballer Leigh Saffin will call on his American tour experience when he returns to the Seahawks’ line-up on Saturday night.

Saffin, 19, spent a month in the United States on an Australian College of Basketball tour, forcing him to miss the Seahawks’ past four Country Basketball League games.

The 196-centimetre guard visited California, Las Vegas, Houston and Hawaii and played 15 games against various high schools and prep schools.

“It was really good. In Houston we played prep schools and they killed it,” Saffin said.

“We played a tournament in Vegas and the home team had a lot of support there and it was the same in Hawaii.”

The Minnesota Timber­wolves fan, who watched an NBA game live for the first time, said his first American trip amplified his desire to play college basketball in the States.

But for now Saffin is content fine-tuning his game under Barry Brooks’ tutelage and helping the Seahawks to the CBL south-west conference finals.

Saffin, who has a basketball shoe collection nearing 50, said he was “working on what I need to do to make it”.

The Seahawks’ leading three-point shooter said he needed to refine his consistency and defence.

“Barry is really hard on me and really good,” he said. 

Saffin said the third-placed Seahawks, who have played four less games than second-placed Colac, were eager to build on their pre-Christmas form.

Warrnambool plays Mount Gambier on Saturday night at St Joseph’s — its first match since December 15.

“There is no reason why we can’t win the conference,” Saffin said.

“We came close to Colac the first time and the second time ‘Damo’ (Damian Gray) and myself didn’t play and Colac shot well.”

Saffin said the CBL -—Warrnambool’s stepping stone to its Big V program — was an important development tool.

“It gives kids something to do over the six-month break, Barry is coaching and the standard isn’t bad, especially with Colac, Mount Gambier and Horsham,” he said. 

“It gives players a chance to play against Big V players or if not better in Liam (McInerney), the Berkefelds at Mount Gambier and Tim Pickert.”

Terang Tornadoes host Portland Coasters on Saturday night and Mount Gambier on Sunday afternoon at Terang Basketball Stadium in other round 12 matches.

justine.mc@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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