Sharks snare three-point shooter import
The Southland Sharks have nabbed the man they hope will solve their outside shooting woes from last season.
American import Jordan Lawley signed with the franchise yesterday and will arrive in Invercargill next month.
The 193cm shooting guard has just graduated from the University of California, San Diego – where he finished as the all-time leading point scorer for the Tritons.
Southland were worst in the league for three point percentage last season with the Sharks only converting 29.7 per cent of their shots from beyond the arc.
Lawley was known as an accurate three point bomber – shooting 38 per cent over his four-year collegiate career.
Sharks coach Richard Dickel said he was an exciting prospect and believed he had the skill set to form a deadly combination in the back court with point guard and former Tall Black Mark Dickel.
"He's a very solid all round player and a very good three point shooter," Dickel said.
"He can post up and is very explosive going to the hoop. He's got the ability to make shots with people in his face."
The Sharks landed 23-year-old Lawley through assistant coach Trevor Ryder, who had researched about 300 players during the offseason.
Lawley and Mark Dickel are both represented by the Entersport Management agency, which had helped clinch the deal.
"Trevor has worked really tirelessly to get the imports. He needs a big pat on the back," Dickel said.
Southland have one import spot free and are targeting another highly touted American, who is playing in Europe.
New Zealand will be Lawley's first stint overseas and the California native said he could not wait to come over and train with the Sharks. Lawley was a coveted signing with Auckland and Waikato believed to have also been after him.
Speaking to the Southland Times from San Diego yesterday, Lawley said he was swayed by the Sharks' strong basketball programme, talented coaching staff and the chance to team up with Mark Dickel.
He has attracted interest from the Minnesota Timberwolves NBA team and Ryder said they would be following him closely while he was in New Zealand with scouts maybe even paying him a visit in Invercargill.
Lawley said his playing style was similar to San Antonio Spurs' star Manu Ginobili and that he had a strong inside and outside game. "I'm known for my three point shooting and I'm a Manu Ginobili kind of slasher to the hoop. I like to create a couple of highlight reels," he laughed.
His college experience had been littered with many great memories. "It was fantastic. I broke a few school records and led the conference in scoring. You can't beat San Diego."
Away from the court, he is an avid table tennis player and said he would be bringing his rackets with him to Invercargill.
Lawley is the eighth player to sign with the Sharks for this season.
Centre Martin Iti has signed a letter of intent with the franchise and is expected to return.
Aspiring local basketballers will have a chance to try out for the Sharks at open trials at the Blues rugby club this weekend.
The Sharks open their season at home against the Christchurch Cougars on April 15. firstname.lastname@example.org
The Southland Times