Two more pieces of the 2023 Pioneers puzzle

January 11, 2023 BY

The Castec Rural Pioneers are thrilled to announce two more exciting new signings for the 2023 NBL1 South Season as an impressive roster takes shape.

Former All-Australian Under 18 player Austin Shelley (pictured right) is the latest Pioneer, having played for West Texas University and Knox Raiders in the NBL1 South competition in 2022 enroute to becoming a Pioneer, while the other signature came from 193cm Julian Pesava (pictured below – photo courtesy of Michael Farnell Sports Imagery) joining the Pioneers from the Joondalup Wolves in the NBL1 West competition.

Twenty-year-old Shelley is an exciting young player whose parents both played professional basketball, and his sister and older brother also played college basketball in the United States.

In the 2021-22 season, Shelley played 28 games for West Texas with a game high of 15 points, 4 rebounds and 4 assists against Champions College. During his 14 games with Knox in the 2022 season, he averaged 12.44 minutes court time per game, shooting at 44.73%.

Castec Rural Pioneers head coach Richard Hill was excited that Shelley had signed with the Pioneers and said he believed he has the potential to become a high- level player.

“Austin is a very important part of our plans as we rebuild our team,” Hill said.

“A knock down three-point shooter and a great perimeter defender Austin will be a key impact player for us, and I expect him to become a fan favourite very quickly.”

Twenty-seven- year-old Pesava is an experienced player who has played for Wayland Baptist University in the USA and professionally in Germany. The NBL1 has seen Pesava shoot at over 40% from the field and, in the 2022 season averaged 18.3 points, 6.4 rebounds and 1.6 steals per game.

Hill was pleased that a player with Pesava’s experience had signed to be a Pioneer.

“Julian is a talented and versatile guard who will fit perfectly into our system,” the Pioneers men’s head coach said.

“He has been an incredibly consistent performer over recent years in NBL1 West.

“He is a renowned three-point shooter and has the skill and athleticism to create shots for himself and his teammates.

“I can’t wait to get to work with Julian and help him reach further goals in basketball.”

The Castec Rural Pioneers and OneFortyOne Pioneers are scheduled to play their first game in the 2023 NBL1 South season on the road on April 1 against the Sandringham Sabres.

Their first home game is expected to be on Friday, April 14, against Casey Cavaliers. Pioneers’ fans should add this date to their calendars now, as history will be made with the Pioneers playing at Wulanda Recreation and Convention Centre for the first time.