The New Zealand Breakers have locked in their big men, and now will go hunting for big names.
The addition of Southland Sharks forward James Hunter brings the Breakers to eight signings, with three remaining roster spots yet to be filled.
Two of those are almost certain to go to import guards, with the Breakers' frontcourt looking set following the signing of the 6'10" Hunter.
Hunter, an Australian-born big man with New Zealand residency, has signed on after a solid NBL season with Southland and impressing on the New Zealand Select tour. His signing gives the Breakers five players to cover the power forward and centre positions, with Hunter set to back up Alex Pledger, Rob Loe, Finn Delany and Mika Vukona.
Hunter, who is likely to be selected in the Tall Blacks' young squad for the Asia Cup in Lebanon next month, says he was surprised with how his opportunity developed.
"The Aussie NBL was a goal of mine, I have been working with my agent to make it happen but I wasn't thinking Breakers, but one thing has led to another and here we are today."
Hunter was behind Pledger and Illawarra Hawks forward Nick Kay in his stint in Southland, meaning his court time was limited, but he showcased his skillset off the bench. He averaged eight points and five rebounds in 15.8 minutes per game, and led the league in offensive rebound rate.
Breakers coach Paul Henare is looking forward to adding that element to the Breakers.
"We have been on the lookout for another player to join our bigs, and our preference was always for a Kiwi to fill that role and James fits the bill," said Henare.
"While he is still learning and developing as a player, he knows his game well by now and understands his role on a team. He will give us hustle and size off the bench this season, can score in a number of different ways and will give us commitment and presence on the boards."
Henare is currently at NBA Summer League running an eye over potential imports, with the Breakers having indicated that they would prefer to sign two imports instead of the allowable three. A local shooting guard or small forward such as Ethan Rusbatch or Jordan Ngatai could fill out the final roster spot.
Breakers Roster: Shea Ili, Kirk Penney, Tom Abercrombie, Mika Vukona, Finn Delany, Alex Pledger, Rob Loe, James Hunter