Basketball: Breakers sign Hudson, wait on Jackson

By Kris Shannon

The back-to-back champions yesterday announced the signing of former Gold Coast forward Will Hudson. Photo / Getty Images.
The back-to-back champions yesterday announced the signing of former Gold Coast forward Will Hudson. Photo / Getty Images.

One import spot has been filled and the Breakers hope Cedric Jackson returns to take the other before the quest for an Australian NBL three-peat begins in October.

The back-to-back champions yesterday announced the signing of former Gold Coast forward Will Hudson, with the American effectively replacing compatriot Gary Wilkinson on the roster.

And Breakers general manager Richard Clarke confirmed the club were keen to see Jackson back on the North Shore should his NBA dream dissipate.

The point guard is currently playing for the San Antonio Spurs in the NBA summer league in Las Vegas, a tournament in which teams try out rookies, younger bench players or, like Jackson, unsigned players seeking employment in the biggest basketball competition in the world.

After working out for a host of teams over the last month, Jackson received an invitation from San Antonio to attempt to revive his fleeting NBA career.

The 26-year-old previously appeared in a handful of games for three different teams before coming to New Zealand and leading the Breakers to their second title.

The Breakers have no agreement in place for Jackson to return if he fails to earn a contract, but Clarke said that was his desired outcome and he had been in contact with the player's representatives.

"He's got 10 days or so [in the summer league] and we're still keeping him in the picture. Obviously, it's dependent on what else happens with him.

"We're just letting him focus on that at the moment. And we're keeping in touch with his agents in terms of, if that doesn't work out, what we can do."

Clarke was unperturbed the Breakers' roster lacked a starting point guard at this stage of the year and he trusted the club's scouting system in the States to deliver a quality alternative if Jackson was picked up.

"Post-summer league, we'll know what's happening with him and then we'll know if we need to do anything else. There's a lot of players that will have their futures determined so we're not too concerned about timing on that.

"Our scout over there always has a list of who's available and who's the best fit if we do need to go outside of Ced. That's what we did last year - we went through the network and that's where Ced came from."

The vacant position is just one of two left on the roster of Hudson's capture, with the other open role reserved for a local guard.

Clarke denied the Breakers were weaker without Wilkinson and called the roster "different" rather than diminished, something which will depend heavily on Alex Pledger's progression as a starting centre.

"We weren't trying to replace Gary, in terms of trying to find a guy like Gary," he said. "Instead, finding someone that fits with Pledge and Mika (Vukona) and Daryl (Corletto) in that forward rotation.

"Will's a good fit there. He fits our sort of game style. He's a very good offensive rebounder, he gives us finishing inside and, from a defensive point of view, (coach) Andrej (Lemanis) is pretty excited that he can do a few different things."

After consecutive NCAA tournament appearances with Oakland University, the 23-year-old Hudson was recruited to the Blaze where he averaged 9.5 points per game last season and finished third in the league with 3.4 offensive boards per game.

"Everyone we've talked to said he's a very good guy, a very hard trainer with a good work ethic," Clarke said. "(Gold Coast coach) Joey Wright spoke to Andrej about him and said he loved having him and would've brought him back."

- APNZ

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