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Sydney's good news, bad newsTweet
SYDNEY Kings have landed outstanding Aussie college star Dane Pineau but the WNBL champion Sydney Uni Flames look likely to mount their title defence without superstar playmaker Leilani Mitchell.
The Rachael Sporn Medallist in the Flames' championship breakthrough this year, and a Rio Olympics starter, Mitchell is bound for a contract in Europe in 2017-18, which largely explains why Sydney swooped quickly to retain Tahlia Tupaea.
Tupaea signed for two years and will slot comfortably into the starting role in Mitchell's absence.
NEW DIRECTION: Leilani Mitchell is heading to Europe for 2017-18.
Pineau, 22 and 206cm, joins the Kings from the college program Marty Clarke helped build, St Mary’s College in California.
A second-generation NBL prospect - father Brad played with Devonport Warriors and Melbourne Tigers from 1989-91, the latter alongside Kings coach Andrew Gaze - with 62 per cent from the floor, Pineau finished as St Mary’s all-time leader in field goal percentage.
Pineau also was a member of the Australian team at the 2013 FIBA Under-19 World Championship after in 2012 captaining the national Under-18 team at the Albert Schweitzer Games.
“We’ve had our eye on Dane for some time and we are pleased that we’ve been able to bring this quality young person to our program," Kings managing director Jeff Van Groningen said.