South East Melbourne Phoenix have signed American guard Xavier Munford, filling the significant hole left on the roster by the departing Keifer Sykes.
The 29-year-old Munford projects to start at point guard, coming off a successful season with Turkish Super League club Bursapor, while previously putting up big numbers in the G League.
A scorer at all three levels, Munford joins Sydney Kings head coach Chase Buford and guard Jaylen Adams as the latest Wisconsin Herd connection to join NBL ranks, having averaged 24.4 points, 5.0 rebounds and 5.2 assists with the team in the 2017-18 season. He has made 20 NBA appearances across stints with the Memphis Grizzlies and Milwaukee Bucks.
At 6'2", South East Melbourne CEO Tommy Greer believes his size will bring added versatility to the roster.
"He's a name that brings a lot of benefits to us in a lot of different ways. He's got that extra little bit of length that we've lacked in the back court over the first couple years. A prolific scorer, he's going to be a handful for other teams to try and quieten down. He's had some monster seasons in the G League and did well over in Turkey," Greer told ESPN on the latest episode of Ball and the Real World.
"He's been around, he's played in multiple locations around the World. Our conversations with him, he's been a consummate professional and we're really looking forward to getting him down here and seeing what he can do."
The signing of Munford helps soften a major injury blow, with the team forced to part ways with big man import Zach Hankins due to a knee injury suffered at NBA Summer League.
"We're really saddened by the situation with Zach. At Summer League he's had a bit of cartilage come loose in his knee and that's going to set him out for a period of time, potentially three or even four months.
"We've had to terminate Zach's contract and we're back in the market looking for a replacement at the moment. We were excited to get him down here, he's such a lovely guy and he'll remain on our radar going forward. It's been three years we've been trying to accomplish that with Zach so one year we'll get it done but it's not going to be this season sadly.
"We've got a pretty big list of names that we're working through reasonably quickly now and progressed with a few people already. We hope to have something done in the near future."
Greer revealed big man Dane Pineau (back, knee, wrist) is ready for scrimmage play, as he builds towards season tip-off on November 18, while also flagging the potential for Australian star Ryan Broekhoff to bounce back from an injury interrupted NBL 21 campaign.
"I remain confident that people's expectations should remain high (on Broekhoff), he's been starting to look incredibly good on the floor. He's moving a whole lot better, and I think going into next season he's going to be a bit of a revelation.
"Having that comfort of being home, the stability of knowing he's going to be here for an extended period of time and having that support around him will be really beneficial."
The Phoenix enter season three as a franchise looking to build on a semi-final appearance last season, with the club once again publicly stating their lofty championship ambition.
"We went into last season trying to win the championship as every team does and we don't hold being a second-year or third-year club as an excuse for not having the success that we want.
"We've been building towards this; I feel like we've done a really good job to this point, but the next step is to make that first Grand Final and bring a Championship back to the South East of Melbourne."