New Zealand Breakers have slam dunked their search for a replacement for injured American Wayne Turner with a three-season National Basketball Association (NBA) player who was with the Sacramento Kings two weeks ago.
Towering 1.93m point guard Orien Greene, 25, played 128 NBA games for the Boston Celtics, Indiana Pacers and the Kings, but became a free agent on November 15.
Breakers general manager Richard Clarke said the club worried that the player market would be bare given that the key European and American leagues were into their new seasons.
"We knew we were facing a tough task to replace a guy like Wayne Turner, and were a little nervous about who would be available in the market," Clarke said.
"If we had been looking even a week earlier Orien wouldn't have been available.
"But we got lucky with the timing and our US-based scout alerted us to Orien's availability and was able to convince his agent to take a look at the opportunity.
"As a result we will have a pretty good player arriving here on Friday."
After a stellar high-school career, Greene attended the University of Florida, his hometown college. After becoming disenchanted with being played out of position, he sat out a season and transferred to the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.
He became renowned for his aggressive play, winning the defensive player of the year award for the Sun Belt Conference in his senior season.
Greene was taken as a second-round pick (53rd overall) by the Boston Celtics and played 80 games in his first NBA season, averaging more than 15 minutes per match.
Breakers coach Andrej Lemanis was delighted to land a player with such impressive credentials so quickly.
He was certain Greene would fit the Breakers, who are having their most successful season in the Australian league (NBL), sitting fourth in the 13-team competition.
"Given our team philosophy, we don't want a superstar," Lemanis said.
"We've talked about Orien coming in and complementing what we have and he's comfortable with that.
"One of the things I really like about him is that he's a very good defender and that generally means you're an unselfish player and prepared to put in the effort for your teammates."
Lemanis said Greene has only ever played in the NBA since leaving college.
"This is his first overseas experience so there's going to be an adjustment period and it's up to us as a team to help him settle. We are fortunate in that we have someone with the experience of Wayne Turner to help Orien in that process."
The Breakers play South Dragons from Melbourne at the North Shore Events Centre on Thursday night.