NZ Breakers sign Ekene Ibekwe for new season

Last updated 17:44 18/08/2014
Ekene Ibekwe
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NZ BOUND: Ekene Ibekwe pictured in action playing for Maryland in 2007.

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The New Zealand Breakers have confirmed their second import for next season with Ekene Ibekwe taking the final roster spot.

A 206cm power forward/centre, Ibekwe is a Nigerian international who lead his country in rebounding at the 2006 FIBA World Championships and played at the 2012 London Olympic Games.

Coach Dean Vickerman said Ibekwe, who likes to go by 'E-Beks' would bring plenty to the Breakers as they seek to win back the Australian National Basketball League title.

"I watched Ekene while in Vegas recently and immediately liked what I saw. He has a 7'6" wingspan, plays above the rim and is an elite shot blocker," Vickerman said. 

"He can rebound for us but also has a perimeter shot. He is aggressive at both ends of the floor and is mobile for a big, he is the player we were looking for to round out our roster and we are looking forward to having him join the Breakers family."

US-born Ibekwe, who grew up in Los Angeles after his parents moved there from Nigeria, is looking for a fresh start and a new life for the family.

"I was at University of Maryland for four years in their programme and since have played all over the world," he said. 

"I have played in (amongst others) Israel, Germany, France, Turkey and most recently in Spain. I have enjoyed also my time in the Nigerian national team.

"I have been back plenty of times to Nigeria to see family, I have grandparents, uncles and aunties and cousins back there so it is great to catch up each time I go back."

Ibekwe has friends who have played in the ANBL so knows what to expect.

"I have heard it is close to the NBA for its professionalism and all my friends who have played out there loved it. They told me I am going to be happy in this environment and I only hear good things about the league and the country itself, I can't wait."

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