Opportunity knocks for talented Air Braimoh

MURRAY HILLS
Last updated 05:00 08/07/2014
Suleiman Braimoh
Fairfax NZ
BREAKING THROUGH: Suleiman Braimoh could play for the New Zealand franchise in the Australian NBL.

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Taranaki Mountain Airs import Suleiman Braimoh could be wearing a New Zealand Breakers singlet in next season's Australian National Basketball League.

The 2.04m (6ft 8in), 24-year-old American caught the eye of Breakers coach Dean Vickerman during his debut season in the New Zealand league.

Vickerman has drafted Braimoh into his squad for the pro summer league tournament in Las Vegas from July 13 to 15.

It's a tournament that's attracted eight coaches from the Australian NBL, with Vickerman also drafting Braimoh's close friend Chris Hagan who has played for the Manawatu Jets.

Vickerman confirmed last week that he was interested in Braimoh who dominated the boards for the Mountain Airs, heading both the rebounding and scoring stats for the side.

"I'm definitely going to sign an import who can play four and five (power forward and centre). Suleiman has shown he can handle both positions. He shot the ball well and defended well against good opposition this year," said Vickerman.

"His rebounding is massive. He does so many things that could help our team. I'm definitely interested in him. He had an outstanding season and carried a heavy workload for his team."

Vickerman said he was looking forward to working with Braimoh during the three-day tournament.

"I'm looking for two more bigs to join Mika Vukona and Alex Pledger."

Those two bigs are likely to be an import - which could open the door for Braimoh - and either a Kiwi or Australian. The side's second import is likely to be a shooting point guard.

This season, Vickerman used Vukona and Pledger in his starting five along with small forward Thomas Abercrombie.

Mountain Airs assistant coach Steve McKean said it was a great opportunity for Braimoh.

"It's good to see him there. It will be good exposure for him with all the Australian league coaches there," said McKean. "He's a true pro. He's got a high work ethic and trains hard ... we got one of out the box.'

McKean said he hoped Braimoh would return to Taranaki next year.

"He wants to come back and we want him back. He certainly enjoyed his time here and he enjoyed playing with the guys."

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- Taranaki Daily News

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