Southland Sharks net player from US

Another piece of the jigsaw puzzle that is the Southland Sharks' 2010 basketball roster has been put in place.

The Southland National Basketball League franchise revealed yesterday it had landed itself an import in the form of United States college player Rene Rougeau.

Rougeau is Southland's first US import to join the roster, with the organisation expected to soon announce a second.

Former outstanding US high school centre Martin Iti earlier this week was confirmed to play for the Sharks. However, he qualifies as a local player because he has a Kiwi mother.

Each New Zealand NBL franchise can contract only two overseas imports.

Sharks coach Richard Dickel said yesterday the latest signing in Rougeau was another major coup for his team, which is about to embark on its first season at this level.

Dickel described the 23-year-old as a strong defender who had similarities to that of Tall Black Dillon Boucher.

The 2m-tall American played for the same college team, the UNVL Rebels as Tall Black Mark "Sparky" Dickel, brother of Sharks coach Richard.

Richard said he had had discussions with his brother as to his thoughts on Rougeau, which helped rubber-stamp the sign-ing.

During Rougeau's four seasons with his college team he played more than 100 games.

Dickel said most of the 13 players who had signed to date would be in Invercargill next week in the leadup to preseason games in Christchurch next weekend.

The Southland Times