BasketballNSW junior representative Ryan Beisty is back to boost the Newcastle Hunters.

NEWCASTLE Hunters will welcome back former NSW junior representative Ryan Beisty for their Waratah Basketball League men’s game against Manly-Warringah at Northern Beaches Indoor Sports Centre on Saturday.

The return of the 22-year-old swingman, who is back home in between US college seasons with Regis University, will help offset the loss of skipper Josh Morgan to a calf injury.

BACK ON DECK: Ryan Beisty has returned from America to boost the Hunters. Picture: Peter Stoop

The third-placed Hunters (7-2) will be without Morgan and fellow veterans Steve Davis (neck) and Jon Howe (knee) for the game against second-placed Manly, whose 72-64 loss to Sydney Comets at Alexandria last Saturday snapped their season-opening seven-game winning streak.

“We won’t have Morgo this week, and we’re still missing Howey and Steve, but Ryan Beisty got back from college earlier this week and we’re looking forward to having him back with us,” Newcastle coach Darren Nichols said.

“Ryan can play anywhere we need him to, he’s long (201cm tall), so his versatility will be a great attribute for us. We can play him as a two, three or four, and having him on the floor should attract some attention and create more opportunities for Jacob Foy, Sharif Watson and Austin Thornton.”

A former Whitebridge High School student, Beisty has played 88 games and averaged 7.3 points and 5.8 rebounds in his first three seasons at Regis, a Division Two college based in Denver, Colorado.

Aged 19, he last played for Newcastle in 2015, when he averaged a team-high 14.3 points and 8.4 rebounds a game and was named Waratah Basketball League Youth Player of the Year.

Manly, led by former Sydney Kings playmaker Luke Cooper, have accounted for Norths, Penrith, Bankstown, Maitland, Hornsby and Central Coast this season, and are the only team to have defeated ladder leaders Hills Hornets (8-1). Newcastle have won their past two and three of their past four, and Nichols expects Manly to play an up-tempo style of game ontheir home court.

“Manly are travelling pretty well, and they’re always tough down there,” he said.

“They play a similar style to us, so it should be a pretty free-flowing game offensively. They like to get up in your face on ‘D’, so it’s important for us to execute well and handle that pressure.”

Newcastle’s women’s team, who have won four straight to be sitting fourth with a 5-3 record, have a bye this weekend.

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The Celtics will play game one of the Eastern Conference Finals against the Cavaliers on Sunday in Boston.

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