Category Archives: NZ Breakers

Sky Sport Breakers record crowd plus more

 

Breakers Crowd

The official attendance for the Sky Sport Breakers opening home game against Sydney Kings at Spark Arena on Sunday was 7,497 – the 12thhighest crowd all-time for the Breakers and the largest ever for an opening game of the season.

The crowd for the Illawarra Hawks clash on Thursday is forecast to be even bigger. If it passes the 8,000 mark, which is looking likely, it will be only the eighth occasion a Breakers home crowd has exceeded that number and just the third time during the regular season.

The largest crowd the Breakers have ever attracted was 9,238 for Game 3 of the 2012 Grand Final series against Perth Wildcats. The biggest regular season crowd was 9,157 on February 1st 2013, when the Breakers won a 10thstraight game defeating Perth 98-81 with Corey Webster scoring 14 points to back up Cedric Jackson’s 22 points.

Breakers largest regular season crowds:

9,157 v Perth Wildcats, 1.2.2013

8,500 v Adelaide 36’ers, 28.2.2013

7,979 v Sydney Kings, 27.1.2012

7,947 v Cairns Taipans, 21.3.2014

7,597 v Perth Wildcats, 13.12.2013

7,494 v Sydney Kings, 20.10.2019

 

Opening Games of the season.

Scottie Hopson’s 27 points in the opening game in Sydney ranks fourth equal with the most points scored by a Breaker in their debut game for the club.

Most points scored on debut for the Breakers:

34 Carlos Powell, September ‘06

31 Brian Wethers, September ‘06

29 Ben Melmeth, October ‘03

27 Shawn Redhage, September ‘04

27 Scottie Hopson, October ‘19

25 Marcus Timmins, December ‘05

23 Kirk Penney, October ‘07

Most points scored in opening two games for the Breakers:

56 Brian Wethers, September ‘06

54 Carlos Powel, September ‘06

46 Kirk Penney, October ‘07

45 Ben Melmeth, October ‘03

40 Scottie Hopson, October ‘19

 

Corey Websterplayed game number 200 for the Breakers in the home encounter with Sydney on Sunday.

He became just the sixth player to reach the double century mark for the club after Mika Vukona (354), Tom Abercrombie (304), Paul Henare (250), Alex Pledger (238) and Dillon Boucher (220).

Breakers numbers including significant milestone for Corey Webster

 

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Some Sky Sport Breakers numbers ahead of round three of the NBL including a significant milestone for Corey Webster.

Debutants

For the second successive season we are likely to see five debutants take to the floor in the opening game against Sydney. Other than the inaugural NBL game the Breakers played back in 2003 against Adelaide five is the highest number of debutants for the Breakers in a single game.

Last season it was Shawn Long, Armani Moore, Majok Majok, Patrick Richard and Jarrad Weeks that debuted on the opening night at Spark Arena against Brisbane.

On Friday it is the turn of Brandon Ashley, RJ Hampton, Sek Henry, Scotty Hopson and Ater Majok take the floor against Sydney Kings.

The five debutants will become Breakers #109 through to #113

Breaker #47 Corey Webster will play game number 200 for the Breakers in the home encounter with Sydney on Sunday.

Currently sitting on 198 games he will become just the sixth player to reach the double century mark for the club after Mika Vukona (354), Tom Abercrombie (303), Paul Henare (250), Alex Pledger (238) and Dillon Boucher (220).

Head Coach Dan Shamir

Dan Shamir becomes the seventh Breakers lead coach following in the footsteps of Jeff Green, Frank Arsego, Andrej Lemanis, Dean Vickerman, Paul Henare and Kevin Braswell.

Also a mention to Zico Coronell who will be sideline for the first time in his new role as Breakers Assistant Coach.

Opening Game of the season.

In their previous 16 season openers the Breakers have won on nine occasions. The percentage win record away from home is even better with three victories and just the one loss. The only time the Breakers have played in Sydney for their season curtain raiser was back in 2010 when former coach Kevin Braswell scored 16 points to lead the Breakers to an 83-70 win.

Breakers searching for next Abercrombie or Webster

 

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The New Zealand Breakers Basketball Academy is a series of development programmes design to provide youth with the best opportunity to achieve their long-term basketball and education goals.

The Academy is designed by SKYCITY Breakers Head Coach Kevin Braswell, then executed and overseen by Assistant Coach & Director of Player Development Rashid Al Kaleem.

Like new Breakers owner Matt Walsh Kaleem played college basketball at the University of Florida.

Further details

Breakers confirm Development Players for upcoming ANBL season

Tom Vodanovich, Dom Kelman-Poto, Max de Geest and Kruz Perrott-Hunt have been confirmed as the SKYCITY Breakers development players for the 2018/19 season.

As in recent seasons the Breakers have opted for two teenage players with aspirations to forge college careers in the States and two players in their early twenties looking to move into the professional ranks.

“We have some great talent amongst us this season and these guys are no exception” says Assistant Coach Mike Fitchett. “They are skilled, hungry and driven to succeed which is just what you want in a development squad.”

Vodanovich and Kelman-Poto, both members of the New Zealand Select team that travelled to China this month, have the added experience of playing NCAA basketball in the USA. Both power forwards, they represented the Southland Sharks and Supercity Rangers respectively in the NZNBL this year, with Vodanovich playing under Breakers Assistant Coach Judd Flavell.

De Geest and Perrott-Hunt, the youngest members of the team, are both current members of the New Zealand Junior Tall Blacks, recent silver medallists at the FIBA Under 18 Asian Championship earlier this month. What they lack in age they make up for in raw talent.

“Being able to include development players as part of the SKYCITY Breakers squad, and to expose them to elite coaches and players is an incredibly important part of our ongoing commitment to the development of basketball in New Zealand”, says SKYCITY Breakers CEO Matt Walsh. “As basketball continues to boom here, so too will the club’s commitment to recruiting the top basketball talent to represent us”.

 

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Max de Geest

From Christchurch, Max graduated from Christ’s College in 2017.

In 2018 he played for the Canterbury Rams in the New Zealand NBL and also captained the Canterbury team that won the U19 National Championships. He also played on Canterbury’s 2017 U19 title winning team.

Like Kruz Perrott-Hunt, Max was a member of the New Zealand team that won silver at the FIBA Asia Cup in Thailand in August where the team qualified for the 2019 World Cup.

Max has also been selected for the New Zealand U18 3×3 team to attend the Youth Olympics in Argentina.

Max willl begin a basketball scholarship at Long Beach State University in California in 2019.

Kruz

Kruz Perrott-Hunt

Kruz is a graduate of the Breakers Academy programme. A year 13 student at Rosmini College he was a member of their successful team that won the Schick Secondary Schools National title in 2017.

He was a member of the North Harbour team that won the U17 National Championship in 2017 and U15 National title in 2013.

Like Max de Geest, Kruz was a member of the New Zealand team that won silver at the FIBA Asia Cup in Thailand in August where the team qualified for the 2019 World Cup.

Prior to that his potential was recognised by Tall Blacks head coach Paul Henare being selected for the extended Tall Blacks squad for the FIBA World Cup qualifying games in June.

Earlier in the year Kruz was one of three Kiwis selected to attended the Nike All-Asia Camp in China where he earned the Best Defensive Player title.

Dom

Dominique Kelman-Poto

Dom attended Mt Albert Gramar School before heading to the USA for his last four years of high school. He then attended Adelphi University, New York before returning to New Zealand in 2017.

Dom enjoyed a successful first NBL season with the Supercity Rangers in 2018 averaging 14.8 points and 6.4 rebounds per game.

In August 2018 he was a member of the New Zealand Select Team that made a five game tour of China – a team that also included Tom Vodanovich.

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Tom Vodanovich

Tom was a member of the Southland Sharks team, coached by Breakers assistant Judd Flavell, that won the 2018 New Zealand NBL championship.

Prior to that Tom, originally from Wellington where he attended Saint Pats Town spent four years at James Madison University in Virginia where he plated over 120 games for the Dukes.

Tom was a Junior Tall Black in 2012 playing alongside former Breakers players Reuben Te Rangi and Derone Raukawa.

In August 2018 he was a member of the New Zealand Select Team that undertook a five game tour of China. The team also included Dom Kelman-Poto.

Kirk Penney memories and numbers

 

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Numbers don’t tell the full story of what Kirk Penney has contributed to the SKYCITY Breakers but they do help illustrate what a massive contribution he has made to the success of the club and the many memories he has provided.

Penney made his debut for the Breakers on October 4th, 2007 at NSEC scoring 23 points against West Sydney Razorbacks – Oscar Forman and Mika Vukona played for Breakers that day although Paul Henare missed the game, bringing to an end a run of 130 consecutive games.

Penney scored 23 points that day, the beginning of quite a sequence of scoring in his first season with the club. In 31 games he passed the twenty points mark in all but four games as the Breakers made the play-offs for the first time. He finished that season with 749 points at 24.2ppg.

The following season he soon waltzed past the 1,000 points mark for the club – tallied in just 41 games. Just 15 players have reached that milestone for the North Shore club and he passed that number in ten games fewer than the second quickest – Mike Chappel.

The Breakers went a game deeper into the play-offs that year but fell in the semi-final to a star studded Melbourne Tigers. Penney’s output was almost identical to season one amassing 747 points in exactly the same number of games.

Season 2009-2010 was the one that got away. The team won the last six games on the bounce but missed the play-offs by a whisker with a team that felt they could have gone all the way to a title. It was also the beginning of the 40-minute game era that naturally impacted on the number of points scored by teams and individuals. It didn’t affect Penney greatly as he still averaged 23 points an outing.

At the back end of that season he scored a career high 49 points against Adelaide which still stand as the second highest individual score by a Breakers player, just behind 50 points from Carlos Powell against Melbourne Tigers in 2006.

2010-2011 was a season to savour, a season when Penney helped bring the first of four NBL Championships to the club. Penney’s numbers were down slightly with 581 points at a still healthy 20 points an outing. However in the play-offs he produced a memorable performance to help take the Breakers to their first Grand Final.

You may remember that in game one of the semi-final series the Breakers suffered a serious bout of stage fright and were stuffed 101-78 by Perth Wildcats at NSEC. To make matters worse Mika Vukona hobbled out of the game with a serious leg injury.

Three days later, in Perth, Penney and the Breakers caused an upset by defeating the Wildcats 93-89. The performance was memorable on two counts. Firstly Vukona not only defied the medics and played but he also garnered a game high 10 rebounds. Secondly Penney reeled off a match- winning 38 points – a couple of his corner three jump shots still live in the memory.

The Breakers took care of business in game three back on the North Shore and went on to claim their first title with a two games to one victory against Cairns.

Following a five-year break Penney returned to the Breakers last season and although they fell one win short of another play-offs appearance he still led the team in scoring. Playing in all 28 games, he scored in double figures 25 times finishing with 486 points at 17.4ppg.

Having missed the last five games with a calf injury Penney’s place as the Breakers all-time leading points scorer has been overtaken by Tom Abercrombie – but only just.

Penney has scored 3,200 points at 20.3ppg with Abercrombie just four points ahead. (3,204 points at 11.7ppg).

Other Penney numbers at the Breakers:

Has made the most 3 point shots for the club (483)

Has scored 30 points or more in a single game on 30 occasions.

158 appearances

641 rebounds

369 assists

125 steals

 

Alex Pledger logs 200th game for Breakers

 

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On Friday night in Cairns Alex Pledger will turn out for the 200th time in a Breakers uniform. He will become just the fifth Breaker to reach that mark behind Mika Vukona (315), Paul Henare (250), Tom Abercrombie (241) and Dillon Boucher (220).

Pledger says it is quite ironic that he plays his 200th game against the Taipans, “My 100th and 150th games were both against the Taipans, and it’s a bit of a strange coincidence that the 200th is against them as well.”

Now in his eighth season with the club – he debuted as a development player against Melbourne Tigers in October 2009 – Pledger has played on all four SKYCITY Breakers championship winning teams.

He missed the second half of the 2013-2014 season due to injury but either side of that he has been remarkably resilient missing just 5 of the Breakers 178 games in that time.

“I didn’t think I would get to this in the last couple of years but I’m pretty proud to get to that number and the body is feeling pretty good at the moment so hopefully I can go on and get a few more,” said Pledger.

He was the NBL’s leading shot blocker in 2012/13 (46 at 1.5bpg) and rebounder (227 at 7.3rpg). He also had his most productive scoring season, notching 331 points at 10.7 per outing.

This season he leads the NBL in field goal shooting percentages – 64.8% (75/116), is third on the shot blocking list (26 at 1.4pg) and 7th in rebounding (121 at 6.7pg).

Breakers head coach Paul Henare believes there is plenty more to come from his centre.

“He is only 29 and and big guys come into their prime in their late twenties early thirties so I think we will see further improvements in Alex’s game over the coming seasons.”

Pledger by Numbers

2009 – 2017 New Zealand Breakers

Appearances 199 – 5th all-time

Blocks 218 – First all-time

Rebounds 1,080 – 3rd all-time

Points 1,509 – 8th all-time

Double doubles 16 – 4th all-time

Wins 136 – 3rd all-time

Double delight for Alex Pledger

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It has been a while coming but Breakers centre Alex Pledger is beginning to show the dominant form he displayed three or four seasons ago.

In season 2012/13 Pledger was a colossus as he averaged 10.7 points, 7.3 rebounds and 1.5 rebounds per game playing a large part in the Breakers completing their third straight NBL championship win.

His numbers were equally good (10.0ppg, 7.4rpg and 1.6 blocks per game) in early 2013/14 but unfortunately his season came to an abrupt end 13 games into that disappointing campaign as injury sidelined the 2.16m defensive anchor.

Pledger has spent the last two seasons carrying various niggling injuries and his numbers have suffered accordingly averaging 6 points, 4.7 rebounds and 1.3 blocks across 61 games.

The big man looked in great touch at the weekend, securing a brace of double doubles as the Breakers completed a tough weekend with a brace of W’s.

In Melbourne on Friday Pledger led all scorers with 20 points and snared 10 rebounds as United were beaten in overtime 98-92.

Less than 48 hours later he produced a balanced twelve rebounds and twelve points performance. He also came up with three blocks in addition to influencing the shots (or lack of them) taken by key Brisbane big men Bairstow and Kickert who were a combined 2 from 17.

Executing back to back double doubles for just the fourth time in his NBL career Pledger passed a couple of notable milestones over the weekend.

In Melbourne he took his total career rebound count to exactly 1,000 becoming just the third Breaker to record 1,000 rebounds for club after Vukona (2,054) and Abercrombie (1,061).

Then on Sunday at Vector Arena, with those three swats, he became the first Breaker to record 200 career blocked shots.

188 games into his Breakers career perhaps the best is yet to come from Alex Pledger.

Henare to bring up 350 for Breakers

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Paul Henare first stepped onto the court in a Breakers uniform for the club’s innaugural NBL encounter against Adelaide 36ers in Octber 2003. The fiesty point guard turned coach has been with the club for all but two of the fourteen seasons the Breakers have existed.

On Sunday he will make his 350th appearance in Breakers colours when he leads his charges at Vector Arena against Brisbane Bullets.

As a player Henare was the first Breaker to have his singlet retired following the club’s first Championship win in 2011. He appeared in 250 games over an eight season playing career with the club and holds the all time record for most assists. His mark of 902 is likely to stand for a considerable length of time.

He returned to the club in 2013, after just two seasons transitioning from player to coach in the New Zealand NBL. As assistant coach to Dean Vickerman he helped the club to a fourth title the following season and logged 92 appearances alongside his good friend during their three-year partnership.

When Vickerman left for the Sydney Kings this year Henare stepped into the hot seat and on Sunday will make his eighth appearance at the helm of the four times NBL champions.

It’s fitting that Sunday’s game is against Brisbane. The Bullets are led by Andrej Lemanis – the three times championship winning coach spent eight years in charge at the Breakers.

That is a tenure Henare would love to emulate.

Tait and Nelson Street prove too strong for Breakers D squad

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Jordan Ngatai led the Breakers scoring

The Breakers Development team ran into a road jam that was 68A Nelson Street in the fourth quarter of the opening game of the 2016 Mexicali Fresh Summer Jam. The Breakers led 76-75 entering the final period but could only muster 15 points in the final ten minutes going down 100-91.

Earlier Jordan Ngatai, the only senior player in the Breakers lineup, scored the first five points for the hosts as they opened an early lead. Lindsay Tait and Marco Alexander began finding holes in the Breakers defence and a typical Tait drive tied the scored at 18 apiece.

Ngatai and Dan Fotu drew fouls late in the period to work their way to the foul line and take Breakers to a 32-22 quarter time lead.

Linus Jakzst in transition and Dillon Boucher in the paint reduced the Breakers advantage. Cruz Perrot-Hunt landed a three but Liam Thornton responded with a trey of his own for Nelson St.

A couple of Hyrum Harris buckets reduced the lead to 41-39 before Waardenburg provided a highlight dunk down the lane.

Tyler Kerlin tied the scores at 45 apiece, Boucher taking Nelson St ahead for the first time in the game although a James Moors bucket gave Breakers a 50-49 half-time lead.

Nelson St opened the second with an 8-0 run – six of them to Jakzst -before Letoa initiated a response from the Breakers.

The Westlake point guard began a threes barrage as he and Thomas Whyte landed from long range for Breakers and Daniel Green and Tait did likewise for Nelson St.

A couple of Fotu baskets edged Breakers to that single figure three-quarter lead before the Nelson St outfit took command in the final period – Thornton and Jakzst combining well with their more experienced colleagues to seal the win.

Final score:

68A Nelson Street 100 – Tait 23, Alexander 18, Thornton 16, Jakzst 14, Harris 10

Breakers Development 91 – Ngatai 22, Waardenburg 18, Fotu 16, Letoa 14, Perrott-Hunt 7, Cam Stone 7

Vukona closes in on 300th Breakers appearance

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Mika Vukona will become the first SKYCITY Breakers player to appear in 300 games for the club when he takes the floor against Sydney Kings at North Shore Events Centre on Thursday night.

In his usual unassuming fashion, come Thursday, he will be on the court before the game announcer has reached the second syllable of his name. There will be no pausing or hand waving to acknowledge the applause – it will be game time and that means business for the club’s talisman.

However he did take time out after team training on Monday to reflect on the milestone and his 12 seasons with the Breakers.

“I’m in a good place. The organization has enabled me to get to the 300 games and it’s been an enjoyable time. When you are in a good environment, a good family situation, you always want to be there. There are times when it’s hard but it is just awesome to come back here. I guess winning makes a massive difference. When you win championships you just want to come back and keep getting more.”

Vukona has a particular attachment to a number of the people he began his journey with. “Dillon (Boucher), Pauli (Henare), Paul Blackwell, the Blackwell family. All those guys have influenced everything that I have done in those 300 games, its pretty massive,” he said.

He remembers his first game fondly, “It was the first game the Breakers ever played, I was a development player and I had the opportunity to come on in garbage time and it was awesome. The first time to come on as a young player and the house was rocking, it was good.”

For the record Vukona, just 21 at the time, scored a couple of points as the Breakers won that inaugural game 111-110 against Adelaide 36ers.

When quizzed on his favourite moment(s) with the club it’s the first championship with the Breakers that comes readily to mind.

“The 2011 championship. Going through the things that we had to get over, the trip to Perth, coming back, we had injuries that we had been going through. We had an amazing time that whole year and to cap it off with Pauli being able to walk away after winning the championship was awesome.”

The 34 year old acknowledges he has to refine his game, as he gets older, “I’m just maturing a little bit better”, he quipped.

“I have to make adjustments because if I don’t you get left behind and with the league going up another couple of levels you have to do that. And even in trainings here the guys are getting younger and it is something that I have had to learn. But it also a thing keeps me going even more. It is another challenge, it is something that excites me and it is something that I want to keep driving for and keep proving myself. The day that I can’t and my body says no will be the time to walk away,” he added.

Fortunately for Breakers fans that time is likely to be some way away, “I’m looking forward to many more appearances,” the 5 times NBL champion declared.

Perhaps not what opposition players want to hear.

Below are the Mika numbers for the Breakers but unfortunately there are no records kept of the loose balls garnered, box outs completed, defensive deflections produced and athletic rebounds he had no right to secure.

299 – Most Games Played

161 -Most consecutive games played (2010-2015)

171 – Most Wins by a Breakers player

2,034 – Most rebounds

36 Double doubles – 2nd all time for Breakers

2239 Points – 3rd a/t

213 steals – 3rd a/t

550 assists – 4th a/t

91 blocks – 4th a/t