The NZ Breakers have today added one of the final pieces of the roster for the upcoming Australian NBL season, with American Will Hudson making the move from the Gold Coast Blaze.
Former Blaze big man Hudson brings yet more options and depth in the forward rotation for coach Andrej Lemanis.
"We are very pleased to have secured Will for the upcoming season. Our staff has always been very impressed with his work ethic, his rebounding and his activity at the defensive end," said Lemanis, on departure for Europe and the Olympic Games.
"From the research we have done, we believe he will fit well into the Breakers environment as a person and as a player. He plays as part of the group and is willing to do the things that help his team mates to be better.
"He is still young and we believe that he will continue to grow and improve in our environment, supported by the quality of people he has around him on our team. Will is a good pick up for us."
Hudson, at 2.06m (6ft 9in), is one of the league's leading offensive rebounders (third in the league at 3.4 per game) and a renowned worker who will have no issue in assuming his role within the group, something that has been key to the recent success of the two-time champion Breakers.
Hudson is also a threat on offence, particularly under the basket, contributing 9.5 points per game for the Blaze. The 23-year-old was recruited to the Blaze straight from back-to-back NCAA tournament appearances with Oakland University, where he set a school-record with 133 offensive boards in his senior year.
Hudson's signing leaves just two spots open on the roster, with the club continuing to work on their options over the next few weeks before making announcements. The two remaining positions will be filled by an import point guard and a local guard in the final position.
The club is also looking at what is now a wealth of talent competing for development player positions.
"The academy and development programmes are really showing their value now," said general manager Richard Clarke.
"The performances of Tai Webster with the Tall Blacks and Reuben Te Rangi winning MVP honours at the recent Nike International Camp have boosted their reputations. Add to the mix guys like Josh Bloxham and others who continue to put their hands up and the decisions on the development positions is as tough, if not tougher, than the main roster positions.
"That sort of pressure and competition for places was one of the reasons we made the commitment to developing the academy programme, and Judd (academy head coach Judd Flavell) is definitely achieving results with the talent that is coming through."
- © Fairfax NZ News