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Saint Mary’s taps Australia pipeline for new assistant coach

Aug 9, 2013, 2:17 PM EDT

Adelaide 36ers Adelaide 36ers

With former assistant coach Rick Croy moving on to accept the head coaching position at Cal Baptist, Saint Mary’s head coach Randy Bennett had a spot to fill on his staff. And Bennett filled the position by hiring someone with connections to Australia, a country that has been instrumental in the Gaels’ emergence as a power in the West Cost Conference.

On Thursday the school announced that Marty Clarke, who has international experience as both a player and coach, has been hired to complete Bennett’s coaching staff for the 2013-14 campaign. Clarke spent the last three seasons as head coach of the Adelaide 36ers in the National Basketball League, and he was also an assistant on Australia’s senior men’s national team from 2009-2012. In that role he was able to work closely with players such as Andrew Bogut and former Saint Mary’s greats Patrick Mills and Matthew Dellavedova.

Clarke also has experience at the Australian Institute for Sport, where he served as an assistant (1998-2002) and head coach (2002-09). The AIS has produced many players who have played college basketball in the United States.

Those ties can only serve to help Saint Mary’s as they look to continue their run as one of the WCC’s premier basketball programs.

“I am pleased we were able to add such an experienced coach as Marty Clarke to our staff,” Bennett said in the release announcing the hire.  “He has extensive experience as a player and as a coach at every international level and will make a major impact in our program.

“Along with the recent addition of Jim Shaw as a special assistant, Marty, Eran Ganot and Adam Caporn give us an excellent staff that will help us continue to keep our program operating at a high level.”

Speaking of the aforementioned Dellavedova, the Gaels will need their six returning seniors to help account for his graduation if they’re to compete with Gonzaga in 2013-14. Players such as Stephen Holt (11.6 ppg, 5.4 rpg) and Beau Levesque (10.6, 4.4) will be asked to lead the way, and the same can be said of junior big man Brad Waldow (10.2, 6.0).

But with that much experience on the way out at the end of the upcoming season, there’s a lot of work to be done on the recruiting trail. And if Clarke’s ties to Australia can help in that regard, Saint Mary’s should be able to fill those roster slots.

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