Title-winning Southland Sharks skipper James Paringatai has had several reasons to celebrate over the past six months.
Firstly he won the 2013 NBL title with the Southland Sharks. He then graduated with his Bachelor of Sport and Recreation degree from the Southern Institute of Technology, then he won the FIBA Pacific Games with the NZ Maori team.
To add to it all he has been re-signed with the Zero Fees-sponsored Sharks for the 2014 National Basketball League season.
Paringatai, a foundation member of the Southland Sharks, comes back to defend the title he helped win in July 2013 and joins the Sharks roster which has a familiar look to las season's squad.
Of the 2013 winning team Brian Conklin, Kevin Braswell, Leon Henry, Reuben Te Rangi, Gareth Dawson, Luke Martin and now Paringatai have committed to return for this year's competition.
"We're rapt to have James back. He has grown so much as a player over the last four years and is one of our natural leaders. James was always going to be back with us but grabbing him to get a signature before Christmas proved difficult, " Sharks general manager Jill Bolger said.
Head coach Paul Henare echoed Bolger's comments: "It's great to have the mana of our foundation franchise player and 2013 captain back with us to defend the title. JP's worth to the group as a leader was invaluable last year and I look forward to seeing that leadership continue to grow this year.
"While his playing time was sometimes limited last year, his eagerness to do whatever it is to make sure the team is firing on all cylinders is a great asset."
The 2.01m Paringatai had a solid 2013, capped in the 114-67 rout of the Otago Nuggets where in 13 minutes he shot five of seven from the field, dropped a three pointer, and capped it with five rebounds.
"James delivers for us in a key role supporting our starting five and he has just got better and better," Bolger said.
- The Southland Times