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Whether Pero Cameron thinks Steve Adams made the right decision in declaring for the NBA draft is now irrelevant. But the long pause in answering the question suggests Cameron believes Adams should have stayed in school and continued to hone his craft at the University of Pittsburgh.
''Ah, well, it's all about supporting it now, isn't it,'' said Cameron, the former Tall Blacks legend now coaching the Wellington Saints.
''You've got to support it and we're all behind him. Maybe he could have done with another year but I'm sure they're going to look after him over there and I think they'll be happy about getting Steve at a young age.''
Adams, a 19-year-old, 2.13m centre, has been training with Cameron and the Saints, with whom he won the 2011 NBL rookie of the year award. Despite a raw offensive game, Adams is projected to be a first round pick in June's draft.
''He's got to develop a lot, his fundamentals, but I think he'll be a presence, just with his physical nature,'' Cameron said.
''He's a beast, he's an athlete and he's big so I think there's a lot more room for improvement. There's a lot of things he's going to be good at. There's not many 19-year-olds playing in that league so he's going to be good.''
Cameron's more immediate focus is preparing the Saints for the season-opening road trip against the Taranaki Mountain Airs on Friday and the Waikato Pistons on Saturday.
The already stacked Saints roster will be further boosted with a second import, 29-year-old American Bryant Markson. The 1.98m small forward attended the University of Utah before embarking on a pro career, most recently for the Shiga L-Stars in Japan. Cameron said Markson would add depth to a squad that includes Lindsay Tait, Corey Webster, Dillon Boucher, Casey Frank and import Andrew Warren.
''He looks exciting, he looks very athletic and he's got some experience under his belt so I look forward to having him.''
Markson is yet to arrive in Wellington and Cameron was unsure whether he would be available to play on Friday. Webster will sit out the opening weekend to rest and reflect on helping the New Zealand Breakers to a three-peat of Australian championships. But player-coach Boucher, who has retired from the Breakers, would suit up in New Plymouth and Hamilton.
''Corey has had a big, tough, long year but we want him on court as quick as we can,'' Cameron said.
''I don't anticipate him playing this weekend, not at all, but maybe next weekend. It's great Dillon's stepped into the fold. I'm loving the fact that he's stepped up and taken this role and he's going to be great to coach this year. It's like having another coach out there, he's so clever and you saw his work with the Breakers.''
It will be Cameron's fourth season at the helm of the Saints. He won titles in 2010 and 2011 before losing last year's grand final to the now defunct Auckland Pirates.
The Harbour Heat have also dropped out of the league with Waikato and Waitakere Rangers returning to fill the void. Waitakere last played in the NBL in 1994.
- © Fairfax NZ News