Further thoughts on the Sky City Breakers

Corey Webster proved at the recent FIBA World Cup that he is a high quality shooting guard. He averaged 13.7 points per game, amongst the guards this was the sixth highest ppg average in the tournament in Spain.

There is high expectation at the Sky City Breakers that Webster will carry that type of form into the upcoming ANBL season. Since signing with the Breakers in 2008 he has been largely in the shadow of CJ Bruton, with the Aussie now retired Webster has the chance to show he is capable of filling the shoes of the man who scored over 2000 points for the Breakers

First up for Webster and the Breakers are the two pre season games against Sydney Kings being played in Christchurch (Tuesday) and Dunedin (Thursday).

South Island fans will be the first to see former League MVP Cedric Jackson in action, his return a huge boost for the club.

In his two previous seasons with the Breakers Jackson averaged 13.7pts/5.6rebs/6.6 assists and 2.5 steals per game. His very presence will increase confidence in the playing group and personal form resembling anything like that displayed in 2012 and 2013 will go a long way in carrying the Breakers into play off contention.

The acquisition of combo guard Rhys Carter looks to be another shrewd signing by the Breakers. Carter has played for a number of clubs in Sweden and Australia, last season suiting up for the Adelaide 36ers, and his arrival will help offset the vast experience lost with the departure of Bruton.

It is expected that Webster, Jackson and Carter will share the bulk of the minutes in the one and two spots and Tom Abercrombie will play big minutes in the small forward position, so what will be the role of Reuben Te Rangi?

Last season Te Rangi had a successful time backing up Tom Abercrombie. The small forward averaged 5.4ppg and shot the three ball at a more than respectable 41.7%. The Breakers are asking him to move to the shooting guard spot, a position he has not played a great deal. It will be interesting to see how he makes the transition – if successful a player with his strength and athleticism playing off guard will be a huge asset to the Breakers and the Tall Blacks.

Another player converting to a new role is Duane Bailey. Named best New Zealand forward in the domestic NBL Bailey has been asked to move to the small forward position as he is undersized for that position in the Australian league This will be a major change for Bailey and one that will require him to improve his ball handling skills and perimeter shooting.

With the Breakers first outing in the NBL scheduled for October 10th in Perth time is not on the side of Dean Vickerman as he strives to get all of his Breakers fit, fresh and ready for the eight hour flight west.

Some thoughts on the Breakers forwards

It is often difficult to gauge form during pre-season. Coaches tend to juggle their rosters, experimenting with combinations and manage the workload of senior players.

Sky City Breakers Coach Dean Vickerman will be wishing to build on the mixed form his team displayed at the NBL Blitz in Brisbane last weekend.

The Breakers recorded a 96-84 victory against the Adelaide 36ers in their opening game but were comprehensively beaten 91-64 by tournament winners Townsville Crocodiles in their second game.

It will be interesting to see how the frontcourt shapes during the south island trip next week.

For contrasting reasons the workload of Mika Vukona and Alex Pledger will need to be managed carefully.

Pledger is making his way back to full fitness after enduring a frustrating last nine months. A series of injuries first of all cut short his last ANBL season (he didn’t play from mid December onwards) and then removed him from the Tall Blacks programme when he picked up a toe injury during the second home international against South Korea. By my reckoning he has played three and a half competitive games in nine months so will need to ease into his work.

On the other hand Mika Vukona has been playing virtually non stop for twelve months and may benefit from rest rather than court time next week – although try telling that to the Breakers reigning MVP.

He played every game for the Breakers last season, sandwiched a month in Lebanon during his New Zealand league commitments with the Nelson Giants and was then a standout during the Tall Blacks international campaign.

The two frontcourt newcomers both showed promise in Brisbane and will be keen to press for extended court time against the Sydney Kings next week.

Power forward Tai Wesley has joined the club after impressing Breakers assistant coach Paul Henare during his time at Southland Sharks during the NBL season. Wesley averaged 16 points and 9 rebounds in his eight games for the Sharks and will be the back up to Vukona in the upcoming season.

Ekene Ibekwe replaces Gary Wilkinson in the second import spot and is challenging Pledger for the starting centre spot. The 2.06m Nigerian international fouled out in just 11 minutes in the first game at the Blitz but fared much better in game two when he posted a double double in almost 27 minutes on court. We can also expect Ibekwe to challenge Pledger in the leading shot blocker stakes.

In addition to the above talent the Breakers can also call on the services of a couple of young Tall Blacks forwards. Tai Wynyard and Jordan Ngatai are amongst the five Development Players on the Breakers books this season and both, particularly Wynyard, could expect to see court time this season.

Tall Blacks Dreams from Barcelona

The next time the Tall Blacks squad gets together it will inevitably have a different look to the group that attended the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup.

I was thinking about this as I dozed off on the flight from Barcelona……………. Continue reading

Boomers coach Andrej Lemanis shares some thoughts at the World Cup

I had the chance for brief catch up with Boomers coach Andrej Lemanis a few hours out from the round of 16 games featuring both the Australian and New Zealand teams. Continue reading

Thoughts of Tall Blacks ahead of USA clash

USA in game three, quite a prospect for the Tall Blacks. The NZ media asked Kirk Penney, Tom Abercrombie and coach Nenad Vucinic about the daunting prospect ahead of them. Continue reading

Thoughts from Abercrombie and Vucinic on latest Tall Blacks loss

Day two at the 2014 FIBA Basketball World cup dawned as a crucial one for the Tall Blacks. Just eighteen hours after suffering a heart breaking three-point loss against Turkey the New Zealand team entered a crucial game against the Dominican Republic in the Bizkaia Arena knowing a second defeat would make qualifying for the second phase of the competition almost impossible. Continue reading

Breakers Development trials concluded

Thirty young athletes will have to wait a few days before finding out which of them will be selected for Sky City Breakers Development players places for the 2014/15 season.

Over 50 players applied to participate in the trial from which 30 were invited to attend the two-day work out at the Breakers training facility in Mairangi Bay. Five or six of the thirty will be invited to make up the ‘D’ squad when team training gets underway in September. Continue reading

Breakers Development Trials Part 3

Teams for scrimmage games on Sunday – Duane Bailey, Jack Salt and Reuben Te Rangi added to the trial group.

Coach Fitchett

Alexander, Gerrand, Tolovae, Rusbatch, Stent, Haku, Payne and Bailey

Coach Larsen

Jones, Letoa, Witteveen, Woodbridge, Ngatai, Brooks, Freeman, Salt

Coach Haddleton

Lacey, Albertsen, Rodger, Anderson, Colenutt, Vaiangina, Barrow, Te Rangi.

Coach Tait

Ili, McCullough, Raukawa, Burton, McQueen, King-Hawea, Alok, Wetzell

Breakers Academy Trials Part 2

There are a total of 16 players that have played in the NBL this season attending trials for the Breakers Development player places for the 2014/15 ANBL season. Continue reading

Breakers Academy Trials Part 1

The Sky City Breakers are about to announce 30 players who will trial for Development player spots for the 2014/15 ANBL season. The trials will take place at Atlas Place this coming Saturday and Sunday. Continue reading


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