Latest Saints import keen to make his mark
And then there were five.
Big Bryan Davis jetted into Wellington yesterday, becoming the fifth import to appear on the Saints' payroll for the 2014 NBL campaign.
JR Cadot didn't even get past pre-season, while Elijah Obade and Ernest Scott were also released, leaving Davis and Brandon Bowman in place as the Saints try to make the jigsaw fit for the home stretch of the season.
Davis is a 27-year-old power forward/centre from Houston.
At 2.06m and 113kg he provides an intimidating physical presence which the second-placed Saints may need in the playoffs against league leaders Hawke's Bay.
Davis spent 2013-14 playing for the Reno Bighorns in the NBA's D-League.
He took a call from the Saints midweek and 24 hours later was on a plane. An hour after landing in Wellington yesterday morning he was posing for photos; by the afternoon he was practising with his new team.
"That's the life of a professional basketballer," said Davis, who will make his debut against the Manawatu Jets in Palmerston North on Monday.
"I'm ready to go, I work out every day. I'm a 15-feet in kind of player. I can do a lot of things with my back to the basket or facing the basket. I can also pass the ball and play good defence. I take pride in not just doing one thing out on the court but doing lots of things to help my team win."
Davis has been to New Zealand once before, in 2009. He visited as a member of Athletes in Action, "a Christian group, spreading the word through basketball".
They played against a Breakers team including Corey Webster and BJ Anthony, who are now Davis' Saints team-mates.
"They are definitely good players," Davis said. "We were here for two weeks and every player had a host family and went to church. I'm going to send them a Facebook message when I get back to my room."
The 8-4 Saints have six games left in the regular season as the jockeying continues for the July 4-5 Final Four at Wellington's TSB Bank Arena.
Davis will shoulder a significant load while Anthony recovers from his calf injury, with his first job a toughie against Manawatu's Nick Horvath. "I've played the five in a lot of different countries before. My D-League team lost in the first round of the playoffs last month but we had a pretty good season.
"I was invited to the D-League elite mini-camp, for the top 40 players, and since then I've been training and enjoying some time with my wife and family in Houston. I'm looking forward to winning, as simple as that."
The Dominion Post