The SKYCITY Breakers have rounded out their roster with the announcement today of Jordan Ngatai to the fulltime 11-man roster, and confirmation of the three-man development unit.

24-year-old Ngatai has just returned from the successful Tall Blacks tour to the FIBA Asia Cup, and returns to the club after spending last season on the fulltime roster.

"When Pauli delivered the news, I was stoked, but this is the best news I have had in a while," said the Porirua born Ngatai. "Going into the Tall Blacks campaign I was out there to try and prove I was worth of a Breakers spot. I pretty much didnt know what I would do if I didnt, so this is a huge opportunity for sure. Pauli asked me during Asia Cup to use my athleticism, get on the boards and be in the play when I am on the floor and be the player I can be, to stay aggressive and look to find my shot. I am grateful for another chance and cant wait to get to work with the team."

Head Coach Paul Henare says competition for the final spot was intense, with players from the recent New Zealand Select and Tall Blacks tours in contention.

"This was perhaps the hardest of all selections, with competition amongst a group of emerging players very strong for this final roster spot. Jordan suits our needs for the balance of the group, someone to offer cover in the 3 and 4 spots and Jordan has previous experience in the ANBL, and the recent Tall Blacks tour.

"It is a big opportunity for him now at his age, one that he must embrace and make the most of. We need to see real growth in Jordan as a player and I expect him to make big strides this season.

"Of the others, perhaps the unluckiest is Ethan Rusbatch, too old to be a development player again this season, he has done all he can to secure a fulltime spot, but the way we have gone with imports this year means our guard stocks are full. He is amongst a group of emerging players who have big futures."

Developing and identifying talent and forging a strong player pathway has long played a huge part in the success of the SKYCITY Breakers, and the naming of a trio of development players for the upcoming season reflects the increasing depth of talent in the country, with Tall Black point guard Derone Raukawa headlining the group this season.

Mitchell Newton (former Southland Shark now playing in Australia), Daniel Fotu (Rangitoto College) and Raukawa, will be part of the roster throughout the season.

All bring immense potential and in the case of Raukawa an already burgeoning CV, having just returned from the FIBA Asia Cup, impressing in his backup role at point guard.

"I am very thankful again to be part of the team for a second, year, it was a great family environment to be part of and I am stoked to be involved again. I see myself playing fulltime pro, this is my last year as a development player and I am definitely shooting for a pro contract in the future.

"Tall Blacks helps with Pauli being coach as well, we have had some conversations and I thought my role was good in the Tall Blacks this year, I will come into the Breakers and try to be the same player.

Newton is a product of Southland, and first appeared with the Sharks in the NBL, ironically under the then coaching of current SKYCITY Breakers Head Coach Paul Henare, before he decided to try his luck in Australia, where he has been playing in the SEABL with Albury.

"I'm from a small town called Gore, I did all of my schooling there before I then moved to Invercargill after I finished school for two years. I started playing when I was about 14 or 15, I didn't make a lot of teams. It wasn't until I was 17 and was a development player for the Sharks I started taking it seriously.

"This means everything really. I remember writing it down for one of my goals back in school, and people laughed at me when I said it. What I want to get out of the season is just to learn as much as I can and work as hard as I can to get better."

The third and youngest of the three is Dan Fotu, younger brother of Tall Black Isaac and sister Ella, Fotu has long been identified as an exciting prospect, and it was only a knee injury that kept him from representing New Zealand at the recent FIBA U19 World Championships in Egypt.

Fotu will take up a non-contracted role, maintaining his amateur status for the American College opportunities that lie ahead.

"I started taking basketball seriously when I first got the chance in the Breakers Academy, working with Judd (Flavell) and Lawrence (Were). This opportunity showed myself that if I work hard with the Breakers, there were new goals I could set and places I can go in the game.

"My oldest brother Isaac has been the biggest influence and is the reason I am playing basketball. He opened my eyes to the lifestyle you can live and the places you can go through basketball. Then my sister Ella again showed that pathway and how exciting challenging and fun pursuing basketball can be.

With the roster finalized, the entire team (including imports) will assemble in the next week to begin pre-season training ahead of the NBL Blitz (just outside Melbourne) early in September, before the Breakers host Melbourne United on a two-game pre-season tour in Hawkes Bay and New Plymouth (details CLICK HERE).

The opening game of the season is on Sunday, October 8 against Cairns Taipans at Spark Arena, tip off at 5pm.

SKYCITY Breakers 2017/18 Roster

Alex Pledger, centre; Rob Loe, centre; James Hunter, forward; Mika Vukona, forward; Finn Delany, forward; Tom Abercrombie, swingman; Kirk Penney, guard; Shea Ili, guard; Edgar Sosa (Dominican Republic), guard; DJ Newbill (USA), guard, Jordan Ngatai, forward; Derone Raukawa, guard (development contract); Mitchell Newton, forward (development contract); Daniel Fotu, forward (non-contracted development player).

- This story has been automatically published using a media release from Basketball New Zealand