Daniel Singapore-bound

Last updated 11:44 07/05/2008

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Nelson's shooting guard is shooting through.

CPS Giants basketballer Chris Daniel has secured a roster spot in Singapore and will play in the Australian national league with the Slingers this summer. The 23-year-old will join his new team in July, after the end of the Giants' campaign in the Dominion Finance NBL.

Daniel was a development player with the New Zealand Breakers last summer and could have returned to the end of the bench with the Auckland franchise but saw more chance to play in Singapore.

He said the Breakers understood his reasons for leaving and hinted that their door would be open in the future.

"Andrej (head coach Andrej Lemanis) was totally understanding and said a place on the playing roster in Singapore was a better option than hanging on for something with the Breakers," Daniel said. "I'm comfortable with the principle of waiting your turn and earning your chance but that might come more quickly with the Slingers than at another team."

The Slingers have reworked their roster, hanging on to American scorer Mike Helms, while adding heady guard Darren Ng from Australia, Jason Castro, the two-time Malaysian league MVP, and Sam Harris, a 2.23m (7' 4") centre from Tasmania.

"Singapore finds it tough to recruit because of the distance from home, but Gordie (coach Gordie McLeod) has a great reputation as a coach and as a person and he gets the best out of players. He knows he has to out-work the other teams and his players pick up on that because of the respect thing."

But it's not just Daniel's 1.97m frame and 14 points a game that have been in demand this week. He has also been able to offer an insight into one of his new team-mates as the Giants prepare for a double-header trip to Auckland Thursday and North Harbour on Friday. As a member of the New Zealand team at the world university games, he played with Kiwi-Texan forward Chris Reay, who arrived in Nelson today.

Reay joins the Giants as a replacement for centre Rowan Gray, who was released earlier this week. A 2.05m, 112kg inside player, he will have one training session with Nelson before taking Thursday's road trip.

"The university games was the first time I'd ever met Chris and he blows you away with his passion and his commitment," Daniel said. "He's a big guy, not huge but big and strong, and he is all heart.

"He's really going to change how we train because he likes to bump bodies and won't back down to anyone."

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That's refreshing news for the Giants who had begun to wear the "Caramello" tag around the NBL ... the perception was that Nelson was soft in the middle.

Reay won't be expected to add much on Thursday in the live television game against the Stars but as a member of the All-Academic team in his US college conference he should pick things up quickly.

"It's tough going into a road trip against the Stars and (Harbour) Heat half-a-man down with Rowan gone, but we aren't just going to make up the numbers.

"We got some confidence and a bit of a boost out of playing well against Otago. We are looking at these two games and Wellington next week as a good chance to get settled in the top two or three," Daniel said.

"Having players coming and going can be unsettling, but that's professional sports. Chris will help us down the road a bit and, until he does, the rest of us have to step up our game.

"We can't make excuses about the strange draw or Rowan or injuries. We just have to go to work and get the wins."

  • NBL basketball, CPS Nelson Giants versus Auckland Stars in Auckland, live on Sky Sport 1 from 7pm Thursday.

 

- © Fairfax NZ News

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