More options for b-ballers
The Breakers believe Kiwi hoopsters don't need to leave home to become professional sportmen with a university education.
With four development spots on the Breakers roster, the Australian National Basketball League club say they offer an alternative to the American college route.
But two North Shore schoolboys could have the best of both worlds.
Westlake Boys High School's Jack Salt and Rangitoto College's Luuk Witteveen will join the Breakers for the upcoming season as non-nominated development players.
This role allows the teenagers to develop their skills in a professional basketball environment but means they won't travel to away games or get paid, allowing them to continue to chase their American college ambitions.
Rangitoto College alumni Isaac Fotu, who now plays for Hawaii University, had a similar arrangement with the Breakers.
"Players have options now and we are happy to work with them to achieve their dreams," Breakers Academy head coach and Breakers assistant coach Judd Flavell says.
"This can be through the American college system but we are also now very much a viable pathway to professional basketball while getting an education. We will sit down with the player and their families to discuss and plan the best way forward for them."
Salt, a centre, and Witteveen, a combo guard, have both been members of the Breakers Academy for a couple of seasons and have represented New Zealand at age-group level.
Salt also made his Tall Blacks debut this year.
"I am really happy to have the chance to train with the team and hopefully get some game time on court," he says.
"I am looking forward to developing my game, and learning from guys like Mika and Alex and learning from the coaches as well.
"I hope to go to college for basketball next year and after that either come back to play for the Breakers or the NBA or college basketball."
Witteveen can't quite believe he is joining the Breakers.
"I couldn't wipe the smile off my face for a few days," he says.
"In a few years I would love to see myself as a Breakers roster player. Wherever I go, I just want to be the best basketball player I can be and be in a team that I love."
Schoolwork and studying for end of year exams will be a priority for the teens who in their final year of high school while they are eased into the Breakers family.
The other two development players are Hawkes Bay's Alonzo Burton and former Breakers Acadmey player and Super City Rangers power forward Duane Bailey.
The Breakers open their season on October 10 against Wollongong Hawks.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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