Australian Opal Hanna Zavecz signs with Canberra Capitals in WNBL

Canberra Capitals newest recruit Hanna Zavecz. Photo: Jay CronanShe helped crush the Canberra Capitals’ championship hopes in 2011, but Hanna Zavecz wants to help restore the club as a force after signing with them for next season.

Currently training with the Australian Opals in Canberra, Zavecz is the latest addition to a team which shapes as a WNBL title contender after three years in the finals wilderness.

Zavecz is the first big signing lured to the Capitals because of their partnership with the University of Canberra, the guard or small forward revealing a chance to complete her nutrition degree was a major factor in her decision.

She jumped at the chance to head south when contacted by Canberra coach and former Opals mentor Carrie Graf

“I’ve played under Graffy at the Opals before and always felt like she got the best out of me as a player,” Zavecz said.

“I also have an opportunity to finish my degree, I haven’t been in one place long enough to get it done.

“There was a few different factors in the decision.”

Zavecz joins Opals stars Lauren Jackson and Abby Bishop on Canberra’s books, while WNBA draftee Stephanie Talbot has also joined from Adelaide.

Zavecz played with Canberra’s fierce rivals the Melbourne Boomers when they thrashed the Capitals in the 2010-11 grand final.

The Capitals haven’t made the playoffs since, but Zavecz believes they have the firepower to end the drought.

“Abby and LJ are unbelievable players and the girls who have been here for years are very good players,” she said.

“They’re well respected within the league and I’m excited about it.”

The 28-year-old admitted she feared for her future when financial woes forced former club Logan Thunder to fold after last season.

“It was very hard when Logan folded, because you feel like you don’t have a team to go to,” she said.

“It was awesome when I got the call-up from Carrie and I’m excited about next season.”

Zavecz relished a leadership role in Queensland, averaging 10.2 points, 5.9 rebounds and 2.2 assists in her sole campaign with Logan.

She is hopeful Thunder teammate and former Capitals favourite Kristin Veal will agree to join her at the club where she has previously won three championships – in 2000, 2002 and 2003.

The Capitals are desperate to secure a proven point guard with Natalie Hurst set to return to Europe.

Veal fits the bill and is based in Canberra after accepting a role at Basketball Australia’s Centre of Excellence as assistant coach of the women’s program and South East Australian Basketball League team.

“It’d be great if Vealy signed up, she just happens to be here and it’d be a nice pick up for sure,” Zavecz said.

Canberra’s next goal is to find a back-up post following the departures of promising bigs Carley Mijovic and Alex Bunton to Adelaide.

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