The NBL1 Cobra Men are set to return some elite versatility to the perimeter, re-signing Kilsyth junior Ben Ursich for the 2021 season.
Ursich returns to his home club for a fifth season, having established himself as one of the top young ‘3-and-D’ players in the league. While his numbers were down from his 2018 campaign, Ursich’s versatility on both ends of the floor played a key role in helping the Cobras secure a top-four regular season finish and Semi Final berth in 2019.
The Cobras were set to unveil a new-look group for the 2020 season; one that differed greatly from the 2019 roster. With much of the local talent from the 2020 roster returning, Ursich is excited to get back to work following a lost season, and believes the new group and coaching staff will take little time to gel on the court.
“It’s great to be back on board for 2021,” Ursich said.
“I think playing with some familiar faces will allow us to build chemistry quickly, which is great due to not having the normal build up to a season as we normally would. I’m looking forward to playing against good competition and excited to see what this team can achieve.”
Cobras head coach Pete Godfrey targeted Ursich as a priority during the offseason, with the pair enjoying prior success together at Kilsyth in 2014-15. Ursich helped lead the Godfrey-coached VYC Cobra Men to a grand final appearance in 2014 and championship in 2015, with Godfrey recalling that many of Ursich’s standout attributes – versatility, hounding defence and coachability – were present seven years ago.
“Ben was the first ‘player call’ I made after being appointed to coach the Cobras,” Godfrey said in 2019.
“He was a major part of the 2014 and 2015 VYC Kilsyth groups that I coached and he already had loads of talent back then. ‘Versatile’, ‘athletic’, ‘coachable’, and ‘lock-down defender’ are the things that spring to mind when I think about Ben.”
Ursich was in the mix for a development player position with the South East Melbourne Phoenix in late 2019, impressing with the NBL’s new franchise – highlighted by a 13 point performance against Cairns on Hugh McMenamin Court – during their preseason campaign. With his valuable experience with the Phoenix under his belt – and the Cobras looking to build around local Kilsyth junior talent – Godfrey believes Ursich is primed for a big 2021 season, and perhaps a full-time opportunity in the NBL.
“Ben has been knocking on the door of NBL development player spots over the past couple of seasons,” Godfrey added.
“All the work is ahead of him of course, but our NBL1 Cobra roster is being built for Ben to have a breakout year — with a view of maybe, just maybe, kicking the NBL door in.”
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