THE start of the basketball season looms with Frenchville Sports Club Cyclones coach Heath Millar happy to announce his latest signing.
Little wonder Millar was excited as he was able to confirm Shanavia Dowdell will be suiting up for the Rockhampton team, bringing size and experience to the playing roster.
The American played college basketball with Louisiana Tech before being drafted to the Washington Mystics but more recently she has been making a big impact in the WNBL with the Townsville Fire.
"She'll be in the race for the MVP (in the WNBL)," Millar predicted.
"She has a really big chance of making the All Stars five."
Millar is delighted Dowdell has confirmed she will join the Cyclones and also that she will arrive a few weeks before the start of the season.
The coach said her arrival at the end of April gives the American a chance to get to know her new teammates and how they play.
However, Dowdell will need no introduction to guard Nicole Romeo who was her teammate at Townsville.
Millar said it was a difficult year for coaches trying to recruit top Australian talent as the London Olympics meant many of the players were aiming for a place in the national team.
"She will fill a role as she will fill a position where we had the greatest need last season, that is being an inside presence," Millar said.
"She has got an athletic frame and for her size she is very nimble."
The coach says his new acquisition stands at 1.88m and that makes her an ideal size in the Cyclones line-up.
"In this league teams will find it very hard to match up on her," he said.
In the Cyclones line-up Millar sees Dowdell as a power forward or centre.
"The two positions are interchangeable," he said.
"She prefers to face up to the basket rather (than) having her back to the basket."
Last season with the Fire, Dowdell was in the top ten for rebounds with an average of 9.3 per game and averaged 15.9 points during the season with a shooting percentage of 53.1%.
Millar said the local members of the Cyclones have been into their pre-season work with CQUniversity's Aaron Scanlan who has been taking them, and the Rockets, through speed, conditioning and agility programs.