Plymouth Raiders big-man Andreas Schreiber can have huge year
GAVIN LOVE believes Plymouth Raiders centre Andreas Schreiber is set for 'a huge season'.
The 6ft 10in 26-year-old, who has dual American and Swedish nationality, is set to be the only player from Raiders' roster last season to return this summer.
Schreiber joined Raiders in January following his rookie season in 2011/12 in Spain's second division, LEB Gold.
He anchored Raiders last season, averaging 8.9 rebounds and a team-high 1.8 blocks per game and provided an intimidating last line of defence.
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Raiders coach Love, set to go with a core seven-strong rotation again this season, said: "In this league you have to have a guy who can block shots and rebound the ball, and all the better if he's European.
"Andreas is one of the best at doing that. He's a great player. The sky's the limit for him."
Schreiber, after bouncing around Europe in Sweden and France early last season, arrived at Raiders inevitably lacking game-fitness and game-sharpness.
This year, Schreiber, who was born in California but grew up in Stockholm, will have a full pre-season at Raiders before the new BBL season tips-off against London Lions at the Pavilions on September 29.
Love – hoping to tie up a deal for a seventh signing and an American forward any day – said: "Andreas will absolutely benefit from having a full pre-season this year.
"He didn't have one last year and when he arrived here in January I suddenly asked a lot of him.
"I asked him to play a lot of minutes, but now with a pre-season under him and on a more versatile team where he'll be able to get more rest, I think we'll see him have a huge season, I really do.
"If he can get to that level where he's consistently performing at his best, then no-one's going to want to play against him."
British power-forward Shane Walker is set to start alongside Schreiber in Raiders' frontcourt this season, with British forward Ben Eaves and a new American forward giving Love real options.
In Raiders' backcourt, Love will rotate guards Gabe Haskins, Jarvis Jones and Donald Robinson.
Love landed Schreiber first this off-season in basketball's recruitment market – but had begun to fear his stated top summer target might look elsewhere for employment in 2013/14.
Love said: "Players want to see what their options are during the summer and that's absolutely fair enough. That's how it is.
"We got Andreas and I'm over the moon. I made no secret that he was most important of anyone to us. The day we got him back was the day I could put a structure to the team, because we knew what we were building around."
Love added: "I think players have been more realistic this summer, because the economy is not just affecting the basketball world, it's affecting the world in general."
SUMMER INS AND OUTS AT THE PAVILIONS
In: Ben Eaves (Manchester), Gabe Haskins (Cheshire), Jarvis Jones (East Tennessee State University, USA), Donald Robinson (Glasgow), Shane Walker (Matrixx, Holland D1)
Out: Drew Lasker (Newcastle), Colin O'Reilly ((Coach) Cork, Ireland D1), Jamal Williams (Worcester Wolves)
Back: Andreas Schreiber
(2012/13 Raiders) Out of contract: Javarris Barnett, Michael Ojo, Matt Schneck