We are less than a week away from the Sal’s NBL naming its Top 14 players for the upcoming 2020 season.
The independent Panel will sit down next Friday and Saturday to pick those 14 players ahead of the inaugural NBL Draft on Thursday 11 June.
Player Registration doesn’t close until Friday June 5 so expect more names to reach the public domain in the coming days.
For now the Lowdown has sifted through the players named to date and come up with the following that will form the nucleus of the 14 to be chosen by Messers Boucher, Flavell, Beynon and Nelson.
We’ve also attempted to list the clubs that these players will be eligible to be pre-selected by given the four criteria that apply – apologies if this is not 100% accurate:
1) The player has lived in the team’s allocated region for no less than 10 years at any one time.
2) The player has attended school in the team’s allocated region for no less than 4 years.
3) The player has previously played the bulk of their NBL minutes for the team.
4) The player had previously signed for the team for the 2020 Sal’s NBL season.
1 Mika Vukona (Nelson Giants)
2 Jarrod Kenny (Auckland Huskies and Franklin Bulls)
3 Jack Salt (Canterbury Rams, Bulls and Huskies)
4 Tohi Smith-Milner (Giants, Bulls and Huskies)
5 Tom Vodanovich (None of criteria apply therefore a Free Agent)
6 Hyrum Harris (Free Agent)
7 Taylor Britt (Canterbury Rams)
8 Sam Timmins ( Otago Nuggets, Rams and Bulls)
9 Derone Raukawa (Free Agent)
10 Taane Samuel (Manawatu Jets)
11 Joe Cook-Green (Rams and Nuggets)
12 Everard Bartlett (Free Agent)
13 Mike Karena (Giants and Rams)
14 Dane Brooks (Taranaki Mountain Airs)
Dom Kelman-Poto (Bulls and Huskies), Tai Wynyard (Bulls and Huskies), Alex Talma (Rams, Bulls and Huskies), Shane Temara (Jets), Tom Ingham (Giants), Jackson Stubbins (Jets)
Additional US College returnees
Isaac Davidson (Bulls and Huskies), Kane Keil (Bulls and Huskies), Jayden Bezzant (Free Agent), Jordan Hunt (Free Agent).
At this stage you would imagine Tom Vodanovich would be the No 1 Free Agent with Hyrum Harris a close second.
The Giants will obviously select Mika Vukona as there No 1 pick but with options on Mike Karena (attended Nelson College) and Tohi Smith-Milner (played bulk of his NBL minutes with the Giants) and Tom Ingham who will be their second pick from the Top 14 players.
Equally intriguing will be the Rams top two choices – Salt and Britt you would imagine but Cook-Green’s return from the States makes him an intriguing proposition.
The Huskies and Bulls are new kids on the block and the Nuggets are an old kid returning. Bet the Nuggets would love to have Timmins and Cook-Green at the top of their playing roster but they may have to go for a draft pick or two if they are stymied by the Bulls and Rams.
More names will be released this week from the list of over 400 players that have registered for Sal’s NBL 20 to date.
For now it’s fun to speculate.