Southern players in action at colleges

Sam Timmins pulls in a rebound for the Washington Huskies last season. Photo: Getty Images
Sam Timmins pulls in a rebound for the Washington Huskies last season. Photo: Getty Images
Four in their last year and three in their first.

Seven southern players will take to the court as the new college basketball season begins in the United States this week.

Sam Timmins and Max de Geest are two players at the division one level.

Timmins returns for his senior year at the University of Washington.

The side has lost much of the team that reached the second round of the national tournament - March Madness - last year.

However, it has recruited well and has landed two of the top-rated prospects in the incoming class, giving it a chance of success again.

The 2.11m centre Timmins provides stability, and will likely continue in his role as a classic big man, bringing energy and physicality.

His first game, on Saturday against Baylor, will be televised on ESPN.

Meanwhile De Geest enters his first year.

The former Waitaki Boys' High School guard joins Long Beach State University in California.

An impressive shooter, De Geest has had stints in Christchurch and with the New Zealand Breakers, while also playing for various national age-grade teams.

He will tip-off his career against 11-time national champion UCLA today.

At the division two level Otago Gold Rush star and new Tall Fern Zoe Richards will play her final year at Eckerd College in Florida.

The forward was named the team's most valuable player last year, before returning to make a significant impact for the Gold Rush.

Several strong performances in which she showed her array of scoring moves propelled her into the Tall Ferns squad.

Meanwhile, her sister Brittany will also begin her final year at Alaska Fairbanks.

After playing her way into minutes last season, she put together a run of handy performance late in the season.

She will look to continue that when her season begins on Sunday against San Francisco State University.

On the men's side Matt Brien will start his college career at the University of Nebraska Kearney.

A 1.93m guard, Brien attended St Kevin's College and played for the Andy Bay Falcons in the Dunedin club competition this year.

In the NAIA Joe Cook-Green has already begun his last season with Texas Wesleyan.

The guard followed up his strong showing last year with seven points, four rebounds and three assists in a 73-62 win.

In the NCAA division three, Ben Reeves joins St Joseph's College Brooklyn for his first season.

An aggressive guard, the former Otago Boys' High School pupil plays his first match next weekend.

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