The Breakers have offered Tall Black Jordan Ngatai a fulltime playing contract for the 2016/17 Australian National Basketball League season.
Ngatai is another product of the Breakers player pathway, having spent two years as a development player with the club and now progressing to the fulltime roster, leaving just the one roster spot open for coach Paul Henare as he mulls over his second import options.
Ngatai's signing continues a productive off-season with inclusion in the Tall Blacks team that recently competed at the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament in the Philippines and then playing a leading role with the New Zealand Select team on their tour of China.
"When I got the call up for the Tall Blacks I thought it was a chance for me to make a statement to Pauli that I could do a job for the Breakers as well. The club is a great organization, one of the best ones in the league. They have taken care of me throughout my development years and if there is one club that I wanted to earn a fulltime contact with, it is the Breakers.
"I have hopefully shown with the Tall Blacks and in my career to date that I can back up Tommy and Kirk in the three position, but I must show that I am ready to play when needed in whatever role the coaches want me to play. I started in the four position when I was younger and have moved to the three - that experience helps me with my ability to go back to the four against smaller guards and adds an option to my game."
Henare was impressed with Ngatai's continued progress during the recent Tall Blacks tour and the New Zealand Select tour of China, efforts that capped off a great year for the 23 year old.
"Signing Jordan was a proud achievement for the club and for me personally. We now have all three development players from last season signed to the roster but it is a testament to the qualities of the players and the hard work they have put in - being a development player offers no guarantees of progression, that is earned by the player through their on and off court presence.
"In Jordan's case, he has been a development player for the last two years and has shown a tremendous work ethic in that time. He has made some great improvements physically over that time and the on-court work that he has done led to an outstanding New Zealand NBL, subsequent selection to the Tall Blacks and then he performed well in the recent New Zealand Select team tour to China.
"Jordan's professionalism, work ethic and commitment to the club values are what placed him ahead of the many others we looked at to fill this last local spot."
Ngatai is an advocate of that player pathway through the club and points to his time at the Breakers shaping him as a player and a person.
"For players that aren't looking to go to College in the States the Breakers are a great option as a development player. You get similar treatment to players at US College level and you have the chance for further improvement working alongside the national team coaches as well. Being around star players like Tom, Corey and Mika is a great way to improve your game and in my opinion is at least as good as playing College level basketball and in many ways much better for your game."
Ngatai's signing brings to ten the total number of players on the fulltime roster, leaving just the one import spot to be filled and three development players. News is expected in the next week about the development players with the import spot not likely to be filled until after various summer leagues have concluded in America.
Breakers Roster (one to be added)
Ben Woodside, USA, Point Guard, 1.80m (5ft 11in) 84kg
Shea Ili, Point Guard, NZL, 1.82m (6ft) 85kg
Corey Webster, Guard, NZL, 1.87m (6ft 2in) 86kg
Kirk Penney, Guard, NZL, 1.95m (6ft 5in) 99kg
Tom Abercrombie, NZL, Swingman, 1.98m (6ft 6in) 94 kg
Jordan Ngatai, NZL, Swingman, 1.95m (6ft 5in) 105kg
Mika Vukona, NZL, Forward, 1.98m (6ft 6in) 95kg
Finn Delany, NZL, Forward, 2.0m (6ft 7in) 102 kg
Rob Loe, NZL, Forward, 2.10m (6ft 11in) 111kg
Alex Pledger, NZL, Centre, 2.13 m (7ft) 111kg
Paul Henare, NZL, Head Coach
Judd Flavell, NZL, Assistant Coach
Michael Fitchett, NZL, Assistant Coach