Wyndham shakes up starting five

Troyce Manassa will line up for Wyndham in 2024. (Ljubica Vrankovic)

Oliver Lees

Wyndham will have a new look line up when the team takes to the court for the Big V championship men’s season.

Four of the team’s starting five will be new faces, as the club looks to build on last year’s early exit from finals.

After a positive regular season that resulted in it finishing top of the table with 17 wins and four losses, the Lucas Allen-coached Wyndham side fell short in the second week of finals.

Allen said he’s focused on building around the foundations of last year’s game plan, rather than tearing the whole system down.

“Two of the biggest things for us was increasing the versatility of the playing group and trying to build our culture in the right direction,” he said. “We’ll still play a similar style of game.”

The club’s marquee signing of the offseason was Myles Thomas, who joined Wyndham after spending four years at Tuskegee University in Alabama in the United States.

Thomas has also spent time in Europe playing in competitions in Kosovo, Malta and most recently Romania.

Allen said he was attracted to Thomas given his size, versatility and ability to score in different scenarios.

Allen said he was also excited to see what Troyce Manassa could do for his side, after picking him up from Hume in the off-season.

The pair developed a relationship when they were previously both based at the Southern Peninsula Basketball Association.

Manassa was dominant across the board for Hume last season, leading the team in scoring with 21 points per game, to help Hume finish in third place. He also averaged eight rebounds and five assists.

Darrien Herbert will move into the starting point guard role.

The team will however be without its two most prolific scorers from last season, Maurice Howard and Kavione Green.

Howard was named grand final MVP in Wyndham’s 2022 grand final triumph is a five time all star in the league.

Last season he was the league’s fourth most prolific scorer, averaging 26 points per game along with four assists.

The loss of Green will be a shake up for Wyndham on the defensive end. Last season Green averaged nine rebounds per game and was previously named defensive player of the year.

The club has put their faith in Allen’s leadership, signing him on to a new contact that will see him stay in charge until at least 2026.

And with 37 wins from a possible 42 regular season matches, Allen said he’s eager to continue the culture of winning.

“I work at the club as well so [signing a new contract] was a no brainer for myself,” he said.

“It’s great to have the support of the club as we’ve turned the program around.”

Wyndham’s first match of the season will be against Shepparton at the Shepparton Sports Stadium on Saturday.