Southland Sharks hook Kiwi Breakers player

Breakers player Duane Bailey has signed to play for the NEW RECRUIT: Southland Sharks in the New Zealand National Basketball League in 2015.
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Breakers player Duane Bailey has signed to play for the NEW RECRUIT: Southland Sharks in the New Zealand National Basketball League in 2015.

The Southland Sharks have lured promising Breakers player Duane Bailey south to play in the 2015 National Basketball League.

The 23-year-old was a development player last year with the Breakers in the Australian National Basketball League, but this year has stepped up to a fulltime contract with the Auckland-based team.

Bailey has previously played for the Manawatu Jets, Auckland Pirates and Super City Rangers in the New Zealand domestic competition.

Despite the Rangers finishing in the bottom half of the field in last season's NBL, Bailey was still one of the league's best, averaging 19.4 points per game and averaging 9.3 rebounds.

As a result, the Aucklander was named the NBL's most outstanding New Zealand forward.

Southland Sharks coach Paul Henare is delighted to get Bailey's signature. ''Duane's signing is one of the biggest Kiwi-born signings in the Zero Fees Sharks' short history.

''I've been following his progress over the last couple of years and his improvements have been outstanding,'' Henare said.

''One of the main things Duane wanted out of the 2015 season was to be able to continue to improve as a player.

''We both agreed that Southland would be a great place to do that.''

In what has become a common theme with new Sharks signings in recent years, Bailey highlighted Henare as the key factor in signing with Southland.

''I want to play for Pauly; I've always wanted to.

''I guess I've impressed him enough and being with the Breakers it has probably helped to get my chance to play for him.

''I know he is a great coach and I want to be part of that.''

Bailey also feels Southland could be the place he could add another NBL title to the one he won in 2012 with the Auckland Pirates.

''From what I've been hearing, with the players we'll have, I definitely think we could do it.

''There's great fans down there too. It's a great environment, especially with the resources they have.''

Bailey joins Kevin Braswell as confirmed players on the 2015 Sharks roster.

Sharks general manager Jill Bolger expects to announce more key signings in the next week.

- logan.savory@stl.co.nz

The Southland Times