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Roller Hawks big Michael Auprince returns to the team’s line up to take on the Red Dust Heelers in Perth this weekend after spending the last 10 months playing and studying at the University of Alabama.


Auprince was named the Roller Hawks’ Most Improved in 2015 and whilst the side has faired well with a 4-2 record without him, there is little doubt his return is a welcome one.




“Having Michael back, it gives us a third prong in attack with three bigs that we can really rely on with Andrew (Tarrant), Michael and Sticky (Brett Stibners)” said Roller Hawks coach Jim Williams.


“Size wise he’s probably the biggest in the league so our anticipation is we’ll be able to out rebound teams and certainly have a posting up presence.”


Auprince has been keen to return home since helping the University of Alabama’s men’s wheelchair basketball side to second place at the nationals a month ago.


“We went further than a lot of people probably expected us to” said Auprince. “The standard over there is quite high. There are some stand out individuals but also a lot of very really well drilled teams as well which was a bit of a difference.”


Auprince only arrived back in the country on Monday and was back at Roller Hawks training on Tuesday.


“I’ve been itching to get back” continued Auprince. “I would have come back sooner but I only finished my final exam last week.”


“I’m studying a Major in English and I got a 3.5 GPA which is great.”


While jet lag is a concern, Williams has no hesitation in throwing his big man in straight away against the Red Dust Heelers.


“I might use him as an impact player and see how he goes” said Williams.


“We don’t want to take Drewy (Andrew Tarrant) out of the situation, he’s done a good job for us so far this season but I anticipate Michael will be playing major minutes for us.”


Auprince’s return to the side will go a long way to alleviate the foul trouble the Roller Hawks found themselves in last round with captain Brett Stibners forced to spend lengthy minutes on the bench.


The Roller Hawks defeated the Red Dust Heelers 69-61 in Round 1 and will be looking to close out the regular season series with at least one win on the road.


The Red Dust are coming off 2 wins against the Sydney Metro Blues with captain/coach Brad Ness taking Player of the Week honours for Round 4 after scoring 31 points on Saturday and backing up with a triple double on Sunday with 33 points, 17 rebounds and 10 assists.


“With the return of Michael my expectation is that we should win both. That said, we’re vying for second spot in the league so if we just pick up one then we’ll probably confirm our spot in the semis.”


The Red Dust Heelers currently sit in second place but have already played 10 games, the most of any team, and have 5 wins and 5 losses compared to the Roller Hawks who  sit in 4th and have played just 6 games, the least of any team.



Saturday May 14: RED DUST HEELERS vs ROLLER HAWKS - 5pm @ Perth

Sunday May 15: RED DUST HEELERS vs ROLLER HAWKS - 10am @ Perth