Jets' hopefuls trial for team places
Manawatu Jets coach Darron Larsen has plenty of food for thought after the team's open trials this week.
The team had trials on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday night to decide this year's squad, with about 14 hopefuls joining nearly all the signed players for the matches.
Forwards Nick Horvath, Jeremiah Trueman and Arthur Trousdell, as well as guard Troy McLean all played, even though they weren't trialling, to improve the quality of the match-ups.
"It was interesting to see JT and Nick and Arthur working together and how good it's going to be with those three on the court," Larsen said.
"Matt Te Huna and Kaine Hokianga were going at each other, it was quite exciting.
"Everyone's working hard which is pleasing to see."
Combo guard Alonzo Burton is with the New Zealand Breakers in Auckland.
Three young players from Auckland came to show what they could do, including one Larsen had coached with the New Zealand under-18 side and another who has just returned home from the United States.
The quality was enough to impress Larsen, who is still building his squad for the year, which already has a couple of new faces and it wouldn't be a surprise if more were added.
Larsen said it is good to have the big three of Trueman, Trousdell and Horvath competing with each other for spots as only two of them can be on court at once during a game.
It is still early days for signing imports and filling the rest of the squad.
Jets stalwarts Te Huna and Hokianga are expected to be signed once the funding is made available.
Larsen is keen to have some homegrown players in the team, so there could be a spot for guys like the young Tia Temata-Frost or experienced Miles Pearce.
Last year's imports Chris Hagan and Marcel Jones may not be back because they will be playing overseas when the New Zealand NBL starts.
Larsen has narrowed it down to about three or four imports; now he has to have a second look at all of them, and check their references to work out if they're actually worth getting.
"The last week or so I've spent about 40 hours watching film, going through stats and talking to agents."
They will continue for the rest of the month with three days a week training, then next month they will "really climb into it" with four days as they build up to the season in April.