Force sign Behrendorff

THE Ipswich Force men’s team has pulled off its biggest coup in a decade, signing a towering National Basketball League veteran for the 2011 QBL season.

At 211cm, Tim Behrendorff dwarfs even the likes of rugby league giants Israel Folau and Greg Inglis, both 195cm.

Currently playing centre for the Wollongong Hawks, Behrendorff will be the star recruit for the Force next season as the type of big man they have spent years searching for.

Behrendorff said he was looking forward to the challenge of being the Force’s go-to guy and leader.

He is their biggest signing in 10 years and is a legitimate professional-standard player.

“I want to lead the team to success,” Behrendorff said.

“The Force is on the way up and improved greatly last season so I want to be a leader for the younger guys there.

“We can push for a finals spot.”

Gold Coast born and raised, Behrendorff’s love for Michael Jordan’s acrobatic jump shots and spectacular dunks led him to dominating local basketball courts and eventually a career in the US college system.

He has become an NBL role player, featuring in stints with the Cairns Taipans and New Zealand Breakers before joining the Wollongong Hawks.

“I wanted to return to Queensland so that was one attraction to signing with the Force, but I also liked the idea of being part of team that has rebuilt and is moving forward,” Behrendorff said.

“I think I’ve improved my game and can be a real asset to the team. I haven’t spoken to the coach yet about what he wants but I know the team needs an inside presence.”

Ipswich Force operations manager Pat Ralph said Behrendorff was a great signing for the club.

“This is a great get for us and we are still talking to another NBL player and a couple of other younger guys who will now be more likely to sign with us because Tim is here,” Ralph said.

“He is a legitimate big man and that’s exactly what we needed. I think he can put us into finals contention.”

Force coach Chris Clarkson said his main target for the off-season was securing a true seven foot centre, a target now met.

Last year the team played American Corey Easley at centre for most of the season.

While he performed well, he was not a rebounder, more a defensive presence and outside shooter.

“No disrespect to Corey but we are only allowed two import players and we need a true centre who is predominantly an inside player for next year,” Clarkson said.

“Corey was an inside-outside player and it would be great to have him in the team but we need more height and inside presence from one of those two restricted players.”

Behrendorff will begin training with the Force in May, depending on how far the Hawks make it into the NBL playoffs.

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