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Snakes secure Starks as second import

The CQ University Cairns Taipans today announce 24-year old American point guard Markel Starks as their second import for the 2015/16 NBL season, bringing their roster to nine contracted players. Starks joins the NBL after competing in Italy's Serie A2 Gold Basket, suiting up for the FMC Ferentino in his professional debut and averaging 13 points, 4.2 assists and 2.2 rebounds over 26 regular season games. Before going abroad, Starks joined the Detroit Pistons and the Minnesota Timberwolves for the 2014 NBA Summer League after an impressive college campaign. The Georgetown graduate started in all 33 games for the Hoyas during his senior year, averaging 17.3 points, 4.1 assists and 2.3 rebounds that earned him first-team All-Big East and second-team NABC Division I All-District 5 honours. Cairns Taipans head coach Aaron Fearne said while comparisons to last season's club MVP, American import Scottie Wilbekin should be avoided, he used a similar recruitment strategy when it came to acquiring their new point guard. "It came down to four main areas for us when we were looking at recruiting this position. "Can they defend? Are they a good teammate? Can they make plays to help you win games, and can they move the ball and pass? "These are the same areas we prioritised when Scottie came in, and that's what we came back to," said Fearne. "If a guy doesn't tick those boxes, then he wouldn't be a player that we would inject in our program. "Markel definitely works into all of those categories and he's a good piece to the puzzle." Prior to college, the Maryland native was a four-year standout at Georgetown Prep, graduating high school with county Player of the Year and IAC Player of the Year awards, as well as being named to the All-Decade Team in Montgomery County with first team All-Met honours for leading the Little Hoyas to an 18-7 record. Fearne said Starks has proven basketball capabilities that will help the 2014 NBL Minor Premiers backup their history-making season. "He's a young guy, with one pro year under his belt and has aspirations of taking it to the next level. "With the talent that has come into the NBL and what they are able to achieve - being able to play here and also move on is a very appealing option for him," said Fearne. "For us, it's about finding the balance of him having individual success as a player, but with the mentality that the team's performance always comes first. "I think Markel will be a great fit into our system, which will bode well for our upcoming campaign." Markel Starks is set to arrive in Cairns next Wednesday.
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