Southland Sharks snare Wesley for second stint

TIES THAT BIND: Breakers player Tai Wesley will return to play for the Southland Sharks next year.
ROBYN EDIE/Southland Times
TIES THAT BIND: Breakers player Tai Wesley will return to play for the Southland Sharks next year.

The Southland Sharks' National Basketball League campaign has received yet another boost with Breakers player Tai Wesley agreeing to return for a second season.

The 28-year-old's signing comes hard on the heels of the announcement one of New Zealand's better young prospects Duane Bailey would play for Southland in 2015.

Wesley was a revelation for the Zero Fees-sponsored Sharks in this year's NBL after he joined the team at the midway point in the season as a replacement for Gareth Dawson who had been suspended following a positive drug test.

Sharks coach Paul Henare used the FIBA Oceania rule to bring him into the setup so he wouldn't be regarded as an overseas player. The rule allows players from the Pacific to play in New Zealand and Australian leagues but not be regarded as a overseas imports.

Wesley has played college basketball in the United States but had previously played in Guam which provided the Pacific link.

This year he provided the Sharks with athleticism under the basket coupled with a strong scoring option.

In seven games for the Sharks he averaged 15.4 points game and 9.4 rebounds. As a result the Breakers offered him a contract to play in the Australian NBL.

Southland Sharks general manager Jill Bolger was excited to secure Wesley's services for the 2015 season.

"We are delighted that Tai has shown his loyalty to the franchise by agreeing to return to Southland and his presence will be a major boost to our team."

Henare, who is also a Breakers assistant coach, said there was never any doubts about wanting Wesley to return.

"I've wanted to sign Tai for the 2015 season since the first week he arrived in Invercargill this year. He is a proven player in our league and he fit into our community and team seamlessly which is a reflection of his great character.

"On court, he added a legit inside/outside threat who gave teams trouble with his ability to create shots for himself down low and knock down the mid-range jumper. It's great to be able to see him contribute the Skycity Breakers in the ANBL and I look forward to him having a big impact for the Zero Fees Sharks."

The Sharks have signed Kevin Braswell, Bailey and Wesley to date for the 2015 season and more signing news is expected soon.

The Southland Times