The South East Melbourne Phoenix have added another player to their inaugural squad, signing forward Chima Moneke.
The 198 cm (6’6”) Moneke is currently playing for Denain Voltaire in the French Second Division after starring at the University of California-Davis in the US collegiate system.
Moneke (pronounced Mon-ECK’-ee) joins Mitch Creek and Ben Madgen on the roster of the NBL’s newest team.
“I think we have recruited a player who will be one of the NBL’s most athletic,” said Phoenix head coach Simon Mitchell.
“His aggression at the rim and ability to throw down on defenders in traffic will certainly see him become a fan favourite. This kid can really play.”
The 22-year was born in Nigeria but grew up in Canberra, where both of his parents served as diplomats in the Nigerian embassy.
Moneke chose to head to the US to further his basketball career, spending two years at Northeast Community College in Nebraska before moving to Division 1 school UC-Davis.
He made a name for himself at the northern California university, leading the Aggies to their first-ever NCAA tournament appearance.
After spending this season in France, Moneke says he’s ready to come home and play an important role in South East Melbourne’s inaugural season.
“I am extremely excited to come back home and play basketball in the best country in the world,” Moneke said.
And it will be even more special to play a part in the very first season of the South East Melbourne Phoenix.”
Mitchell has first-hand experience working with Moneke and could not be more excited to have him on board.
“I was fortunate to work with Chima last off-season after he graduated from UC Davis,” said Mitchell.
“He is a super kid. Engaging, works hard and has a real desire to learn and fulfil his potential.
“I’m excited for him – he’ll have great role models in Mitch (Creek) and Madge (Ben Madgen) to assist him along the way and I can’t wait to get back to work with him.”