2017 NBL Basketball
TALK about starting their repair mission with a couple of slam dunks ... Hawks basketball officials have delivered with the signing of Everard Bartlett and Jarrod Kenny.
Taylor Corporation Ltd Hawks chairman Keith Price and head coach Kirstin Taylor (nee Daly) announced the signing of Tall Black Bartlett and former Tall Black Kenny yesterday.
"While both have signed one-year deals we're looking to get four or five years out of both of them. They are keen to return to the Bay and settle," Price said.
Combo guard Bartlett, 30, is regarded as one of Hawke's Bay basketball's favourite sons. The father of three's first stint with the Hawks was from 2005-'10 and he was a member of the 2006 NZNBL-winning Hawks side.
The former New Zealand Breaker's second stint with the Hawks was from 2012-'14. Point guard Kenny, 31, played for the Hawks from 2009-'15.
Kenny has captained the Hawks in the past and Taylor confirmed he will captain the team again next year.
"They are our first two signings and we're hoping they will be magnets for future signings. Two imports are our next work-ons and then we will chase two good New Zealand players," Price said.
His board has stressed all of next year's squad must be Hawke's Bay-based. Two members of this year's winless team, Matt Te Huna and Arthur Trousdell, commuted from Manawatu and Wellington respectively and this meant they couldn't attend all trainings and it wasn't the best recipe for team bonding.
"While we are grateful for what they did to help us stay in the league if players want to play for us next year they must live in Hawke's Bay," Price said.
"On the import front we're looking for two young athletic boys. We want imports who can run, rebound and score," former Tall Fern Taylor said.
She pointed out Bartlett and Kenny will "be the faces of the Hawks and will be involved in coaching around the province."
Price said the Hawks will share the Basketball Hawke's Bay Whitmore Park headquarters in Napier and he is impressed with the liaison which is developing between the two organisations in the countdown to the March start to the seven-team league.
In addition to the Hawks the 193cm tall Bartlett has played for the Auckland Pirates and Southland Sharks in the NZNBL. Along with the Breakers the Perth Wildcats and Adelaide 36ers have also benfitted from Bartlett's services in the Australian NBL.
A product of Westlake Boys High School in Auckland, Kenny, began his NZNBL career with a seven-year stint with Harbour Heat and this year played for the Nelson Giants. He was the league's Young Player of the Year in 2005.
During the 2015-16 Australia NBL season Kenny played in all 34 games for the Perth Wildcats averaging 4.6 points, 2.1 rebounds and 1.3 assists per game. He helped the club claim their seventh championship title with a 2-1 Grand Final series win over the New Zealand Breakers.
A 2002 New Zealand Junior Tall Black, Kenny, made his senior Tall Blacks debut at the 2009 Oceania Championships and continued to play for the Tall Blacks from 2011-'15. Injury ruled him out of this year's Olympic Games qualifying campaign.
Coach Taylor is confident the bulk of this year's Hawks squad will be available again next year. It will be the second season of her five-year contract.