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SKYCITY BREAKERS 2013/14 CONTENTS 4. Season preview Kris Shannon takes a look at the 2013/14 NBL season and predicts the SKYCITY Breakers will have another great NBL season. 6. Dean Vickerman He has held a back seat in the SKYCITY Breakers coaching set up for six years but Dean Vickerman tells Suzanne McFadden he is looking forward to the challenges ahead this year. 9. SKYCITY Breakers Game Night Experience What to expect when you attend a SKYCITY Breakers home game at the North Shore Events Centre or the Vector Arena.

10. Kerron Johnson He has big shoes to fill in replacing Cedric Jackson – the NBL’s MVP for the last two seasons but American import Kerron Johnson talks to David McDonald about the new challenge ahead. 12. SKYCITY Breakers in the Community Away from Basketball the players and coaches at SKYCITY Breakers are helping out in the community. 14. SKYCITY Breakers team photo 2013/14 16-17 2013/14 complete NBL team schedule Your complete guide to the 2013/14 NBL season. 18. Profile – C.J. Bruton Suzanne McFadden catches up with 37-year-old C.J. Bruton as he prepares for his swansong season in the NBL.

Managing editor: Oliver Lee

20-23. SKYCITY Breakers player profiles Mike Lacey profiles the 15 players who make up this year’s roster. 24. Reuben Te Rangi One of the upcoming stars for the SKYCITY Breakers is also a key player with the Tall Blacks, and Basketball New Zealand launches an initiative called thehuddle.co.nz to help young players like Reuben Te Rangi. 26-28. NBL team profiles – Kris Shannon profiles the eight teams who will compete in the 2013/14 NBL season. 30. Did you know? Facts and figures you may not know about the SKYCITY Breakers compiled by stats man Mike Lacey.

Publisher

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS: KRIS SHANNON / SUZANNE McFADDEN DAVID McDONALD / MIKE LACEY PHOTOGRAPHY: photosport.co.nz DESIGN / LAYOUT: ROB GLEN / HNZL PRINTING: Webstar, Masterton

 Box 331-667, Takapuna, Auckland 0740, New Zealand  T: 09 486 6966 E: oliver@oliverlee.co.nz W: www.oliverlee.co.nz

COPYRIGHT: Reproduction in whole or in part by any means is prohibited. Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this magazine do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the publisher. Although all material is checked for accuracy, no liability is assumed by the publisher for any loss due to use of material in this magazine.

PROUD TO HOST THE SKYCITY BREAKERS

GAME ON!!!


the adjustment from Lemanis to Vickerman should be as smooth as the champs’ offence…”

New coach, new imports, same old result? By KRIS SHANNON

T

hat’s the question for the SKYCITY Breakers this season as the defending champions attempt to overcome personnel changes to become the first side in Australian NBL history to win four straight titles. With Andrej Lemanis leaving for the Australian Boomers job and Cedric Jackson departing a competition he outgrew during the last campaign, the SKYCITY Breakers have experienced more disruption than at any other point during their dynasty. But this being the SKYCITY Breakers – the most well-run sporting organisation in the country – don’t expect them to miss a beat.

4 skycity breakers

Both losses had long been anticipated and the search for both replacements went off without a hitch. Dean Vickerman, Lemanis’ long-time lieutenant, was the only candidate to take the car keys, while in Kerron Johnson the club hope they have found a player of Jackson’s peer. It won’t be easy for the 22-year-old point guard – who last season played college hoops with Belmont – to fill the boots of last season’s most valuable player, but it’s not like he will be without help. The rest of the championshipwinning roster have returned, with a couple of exceptions. Dillon Boucher’s retirement will be felt on the court but not off it, with the veteran

stepping into a front office role and undoubtedly keen to make his presence felt around the club’s Atlas Place HQ. Will Hudson will not return as the team’s second import, but fellow American Darnell Lazare has come from Sydney to search for a starting role and, in the process, keep the SKYCITY Breakers’ big men honest. Lazare’s presence, along with Vickerman’s assertion he will keep his starting five flexible, will create healthy ompetition and add valuable depth to account for any injury-related absence from Mika Vukona or Alex Pledger. And it’s not just in the team’s bigs who may have a fight for their job. Corey Webster made impressive progress off the bench last season and will challenge Daryl Corletto for minutes in the two-guard spot. Webster’s hot hand may become even more important should Johnson struggle to carry the scoring load that Jackson provided last season. Off the court, the adjustment from Lemanis to Vickerman

should be as smooth as the champs’ offence, considering the latter has been the former’s right-hand man throughout three championship-winning campaigns. Vickerman, who presided over the SKYCITY Breakers’ defence as assistant coach, will offer an accent on that area of the game, while he has brought in former club favourite Paul Henare to join Judd Flavell as an assistant. While the loss of Lemanis is negligible, the true nature of Jackson’s absence will remain questionable until Johnson gets on the court. And with his suitability to the ANBL unknown, so too are the SKYCITY Breakers’ chances of creating history. Perth will again provide the sternest test, especially after the Wildcats’ acquisition of 2013 second round NBA Draft pick James Ennis. But, as the SKYCITY Breakers have shown in recent times with Kirk Penney and Gary Wilkinson, they have the ability to shed their best players and keep on winning.


CALLING THE SHOTS: a new era By SUZANNE McFADDEN

A

fter six years wedged behind a computer screen, watching thousands of hours of game reruns, Dean  Vickerman finally has his chance to call the shots.

It’s not that he didn’t value and respect those six seasons spent as assistant coach to SKYCITY Breakers’ mastermind Andrej Lemanis, quite the opposite. But Vickerman, a dairy farmer’s son from the Australian town of Warragul, is already relishing his chance to break-out of the back room and guide the Kiwi club to an unprecedented fourth straight championship title in the Australian NBL.

And like Lemanis before him, he doesn’t believe the team needs one man to lead on court. “We’ve never had a captain, and we still don’t have one, so it falls on everyone in the group to play their part in leading this team,” he says. This is especially true of the side’s core players – CJ Bruton, Mika Vukona and Daryl Corletto. “If you came into this role telling everybody what to do – being a dictator – you’d really struggle. So, I think everyone is enjoying my approach to it – being approachable, listening to them and trying to make the club better that way.”

“The world of the assistant coach is extremely different to the world of the head coach,” Vickerman says. “I was really living behind the computer, watching tapes, and coming up with suggestions to throw at Andrej. If he used them, or didn’t use them, was up to him as head coach. “Now, I have a lot of decisions to make. It’s a lot less scouting and living in my little world of watching game tapes, and a lot more about managing people, on and off the court. It’s a lot more face-to-face.” Vickerman, who first came to New Zealand to coach the Wellington Saints in 2001, reckons it’s too early to say how fans will see the influence of his coaching style, but he guarantees there will be differences. He’s being vigilant about continuing the famous culture of the club, and including the input of those around him – like long-time offensive assistant Judd Flavell and newcomer to the coaching bench, foundation SKYCITY Breaker Paul Henare, assisting in defence. The players are also involved, helping recruit newcomers to the line-up this season. “It came down to a shortlist, and we got everyone into a room and really nutted out who we wanted,” Vickerman says. He’s passionate about developing the younger players, introducing an extra 40 minutes of up-skilling work for the rookies before their regular trainings. 6 skycity breakers

Having been an NBL assistant since 2004 – with the Melbourne Tigers, Singapore Slingers and then the SKYCITY Breakers – Vickerman admits he’s waited a long time for the head coach job. But, it’s been worth the wait to lead a team with a wealth of talent and a winning culture.

Paul Henare Assistant Coach Paul needs little introduction to SKYCITY Breakers fans as he was the first Breaker to have his singlet retired following the club’s first Championship win in 2011. Paul appeared in a record 250 games for the club. He embarks on his SKYCITY Breakers coaching career on the back of a Bartercard NBL Championship winning season with the Southland Sharks. Prior to that he coached Hawke’s Bay in 2011 and 2012.

Vickerman has signed on for three years, and he’s looking at it one season at a time. “For me, the goal this year is to do something that’s never been done before. That’s the driving goal for me every day,” he says. “We will be embracing a little change, while carrying on the highest standards ever set by any team in this league, and pushing it a little more.” And there’s nowhere he’d rather do it than in New Zealand. “This is the longest place I have lived since my childhood; I’ve had a basketball gypsy existence. My kids were born here, my wife [Christy] is a Kiwi. In basketball I’m a Kiwi, there’s no doubt where my allegiance lies.” He adds, “And this club is extremely hard to leave.”

Judd Flavell Assistant Coach, Academy Head Coach Judd begins his eighth season with the SKYCITY Breakers as Assistant Coach and Head Coach of the Basketball Development Academy. Flavell continues to work brilliantly with the young talent in the game, teaching them not only how to cope on the court but also in areas of leadership and responsibility off the court. Flavell was head coach of the Bartercard NBL Championship winning Auckland Pirates in 2012 and the NZ Under 18 Men in 2013.


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OLYMPIC AND COMMONWEALTH ATHLETE BACHELOR OF COMMUNICATION

MIKA VUKONA TALL BLACKS CAPTAIN AND SKYCITY BREAKERS PLAYER BACHELOR OF INFORMATION SCIENCES

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AN EXPERIENCE LIKE NO OTHER

E

xciting. Action packed. Entertaining. Fun. Just a few words to describe a SKYCITY Breakers game – and you are invited to be part of it all! The SKYCITY Breakers believe in creating a fantastic atmosphere at the games, you, your family and friends can come along and enjoy a night out together – whether you know everything there is to know about basketball, or not, there’s more to the night… From player introductions where the whole stadium blacks-out and the spotlight roams around the stands, to dance performances by the SKYCITY cheer girls, beats by Auckland Regional Drumline, performances by up-andcoming New Zealand artists, in-game giveaways for the crowd and fun contestant activities on court – the game is jam-packed full of entertainment, and giving their fans a great experience is what the Breakers are all about! The fans are participants at the games, making their voices known in support of the team; singing, clapping and stomping along to We Will Rock You while the team

– there’s something for everyone and the Breakers would love to invite you to be part of something special. Games are on Thursday or Friday nights at North Shore Events Centre or Vector Arena.

Let’s give you a sneak peak. Visualise this…

Mika Vukona throws in the ball to Kerron Johnson. 4 seconds left. Johnson drives towards the perimeter. 3 seconds left. He spots Tom Abercrombie near the hoop… the fans are still on their feet, chanting. 2 seconds left. Johnson lobs the ball into the air towards the hoop and Abercrombie flies in towards the hoop…

With 5 seconds to go on the clock, coach calls a timeout*. SKYCITY Breakers are one point down and will have next possession. 9,400 fans are on their feet in anticipation, shouting support for the team.

BOOM! Abercrombie hits the alley-oop! 2 points! SKYCITY Breakers win the game! Fans are high-fiving, hugging and hollering. Music and chanting reverberates throughout the stadium.

The Auckland Regional Drumline begin to beat on their drums, fans joining in the ‘WE ARE…BREAKERS’ chant. The atmosphere is out of this world.

Don’t miss out on moments like this, and the opportunity to enjoy all the other entertainment game night has to offer. Whether you are young or old, male or female

has the ball to encourage them! Also, the team are accessible to fans, so everyone has the opportunity to head down to the court after the game at North Shore Events Centre to meet the players and join in the success of the night.

Ticket prices begin from just $16.50. To get your ticket for a fantastic night out – visit www.nzbreakers.co.nz PLUS for games at Vector Arena, your ticket price includes transport on trains and event buses, making your trip to and from the game that much easier. For those of you looking for a special experience, there are great group packages available – some of which include the opportunity to be part of the fan tunnel at Vector Arena games, where you can high-five the players as they run out onto court. Contact Halsey Ward at halsey@nzbreakers.co.nz for more information. The Breakers look forward to welcoming you, your family or friends along to the games! See you there! *T  imeout: A 60-second break-in play where both teams go back to their team benches to work through the next play. skycity breakers

9


AMERICAN IMPORT:

Q&A WITH KERRON JOHNSON By DAVID McDONALD

W

ith the departure of Cedric Jackson, all eyes this season will be on new American import, Kerron Johnson. After a fruitful four-year stint playing college basketball with Belmont University, the dynamic point guard joins the SKYCITY Breakers this season, and there are big expectations of him. But, the pressure does not seem to worry the young man, who, in his last season at Belmont, was named in the All Conference first team and received the All Conference Tournament MVP title; all of this in a season which included slotting a match-winning ‘buzzer beater’ to put his side into the NCAA tournament. Johnson, and the club, will be hoping he can bring that same magic to the ANBL.

10 skycity breakers

Tell us about home Kerron… I’m from Huntsville, Alabama. I lived there and grew up there until I went to college at Belmont in Nashville, Tennessee. You spent four years playing at Belmont. What have you gained from that experience? It has taught me to be a mature basketball player on and off the court. It prepares you to be a professional, it prepares you to discipline yourself and work hard. There is also a lot of responsibility to work at point guard where you need to learn how to manage a team and lead men. It has prepared me well for that. How have you adjusted to your new home at the club? I really like it here. All the people are really nice! The organisation has been really

helpful and friendly, whenever I need something they are there to help. It’s really nice to know I have people that care for me, it makes fitting-in much easier. Everyone here feels like they are part of something special. That is the type of culture that has been created and maintained. That is what is important for the success of the team. Is filling the shoes of Cedric Jackson a tough undertaking? With basketball at this level you realise it is not all about one player, but obviously Cedric was a huge part of what they like to do. For me, I know fans loved him but I think they also love winning. It is about holding your end and playing as hard as you can to help the team win. It is not about being better than Cedric Jackson or scoring the

most points, we are a team and we have a job to do. That’s my job here – to lead this team and help them to win a fourth title. What strengths and attributes do you bring to the franchise? I’m very fast up-and-down the court. I’m able to control the tempo of the game which I think all great point-guards can do. I love an open court and helping to create shots for my teammates; we have great shooters around us. I play with a strongly competitive and furious focus. What do you like doing off the court? I love to go and watch movies. I’m a bit of a movie buff and I will drag myself there at all costs to see a good movie, that’s kind of my thing. If I’m not on the court, that’s where I will be.


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SKYCITY Breakers, the community is of core focus. They have been lucky enough to be involved in initiatives that enable them to meet wonderful people, and give the team a chance to contribute to the youth’s future, regardless of whether it is a future of basketball, and play a role in their general life choices. This season, the SKYCITY Breakers has been fortunate enough to work with longstanding charity CanTeen to produce an exclusive SKYCITY Breakers bandanna.

Last year, Reuben Te Rangi, CJ Bruton and Mika Vukona sat down together with CanTeen-er Jess Hamilton to create this special bandanna – they have high hopes their fans will really like it, especially as it displays the team’s value of ‘One Team’. The bandannas are available for purchase from retailers such as PAK‘n SAVE or online at www.neveralone.co.nz –

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so, please show your support for young people living with cancer. The team are also planning initiatives to support their other two official charities – Starship Hospital and Blood Leukemia Foundation – and welcome any help or support from SKYCITY Breakers fans who would like to help raise funds for any of the charities or join in any of the initiatives to support them. To keep up-to-date, and check out how you could help, go to www.nzbreakers.co.nz Outside of those three official charities, the team is also really looking forward to again delivering the Meadow Fresh Champions programme into local schools. This season, selected schools will be invited to community centres where the team will host a fun, exhibition-style game, Breakerball, which sees them playing against the local intermediate-school team.


> EVENT TRANSPORT

involved in the basics of basketball in various schools throughout Auckland.

Additional selected schools or community groups will also have the chance to meet the team, and be involved in a skills session. The skills sessions will be held at SKYCITY Breakers HQ throughout the season in what’s called a ‘SKYCITY Breaker Experience’. It’s not only the players who will be out and about in the schools, but the SKYCITY Breakers will also have their Community Coaches spending at least 20hrs a week getting children

There are 250 teaching manuals, 3000 balls, and 1500 skills booklets to deliver to schools and community groups through these initiatives and programmes this year. The SKYCITY Breakers not only look forward to introducing the game they love to more of the community, but also value and appreciate all the stories and lessons the community has to offer. The SKYCITY Breakers believe in building champions in the community and want to thank everybody for supporting the club, so that they can continue to deliver and participate in all these initiatives. Watch out for the Community Wagon on the roads taking the team along to a community visit!

Ride to the SKYCITY Breakers with your game ticket. SKYCITY Breakers, Vector Arena, 2013/14 Season

Bus Travel on Northern Express Buses up to 3 hours before tip-off and until end of services post-game. Additional event bus services depart Quay Street post-game travelling to Albany via all Northern Busway Stations (the last event bus service departs 1 hour after the final buzzer).

Train Travel on trains up to 3 hours before tip-off and until end of services post-game.

Terms & Conditions apply. Please see AT.co.nz/events for more information. For more information visit AT.co.nz/events or phone 09 366 6400 skycity breakers

13

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from NZBREAKERS.CO.NZ

Back (from left): #30 Alonzo Burton Combo Guard; #7 Reuben Te Rangi Forward; #11 Duane Bailey Power Forward; #5 Jack Salt Center; #35 Alex PledgerCenter; #25 Jeremiah Trueman Center; #21 Darnell Lazare Forward.

Middle Row (from left): #8 Jarrod Kenny Guard; #3 Daryl Corletto Guard; #23 CJ Bruton Point Guard; #13 Luuk Witteveen Combo Guard; #14 Mika Vukona Power Forward.

Front (from left): #2 Kerron Johnson Point Guard; #9 Corey Webster Guard; #10 Tom Abercrombie Swingman.

14 skycity breakers


2013 /14

SEASON Game Schedule

ROUND

DATE HOME

ROUND 1

Thursday October 10 SKYCITY Breakers

v Wollongong

Vector Arena

v Adelaide

Perth 6:30PM

Saturday October 12 Townsville

v Cairns

Townsville 7:30PM

Sunday October 13

Sydney

v Melbourne

Sydney 2:00PM

Townsville Perth

v SKYCITY Breakers

Friday October 11

Perth

AWAY

ROUND 2

Friday October 18

Friday October 18

Saturday October 19 Cairns

v SKYCITY Breakers

Saturday October 19

Adelaide

v Wollongong

Sunday October 20

Melbourne

ROUND 3

VENUE

v Sydney

Townsville

TIME 7:30PM

7:30PM

Perth 6:30PM

Cairns 7:30PM

Adelaide 7:30PM

v Perth

Melbourne 2:00PM

Thursday October 24 SKYCITY Breakers

v Perth

NSEC *

Friday October 25

Cairns

v Adelaide

Cairns 7:30PM

Saturday October 26

Wollongong

v Townsville

Wollongong 7:30PM

Sunday October 27

Melbourne

v Adelaide

Melbourne 2:00PM

Sunday October 27

Sydney

v Perth

Sydney 2:00PM

ROUND 4

Thursday October 31 SKYCITY Breakers

v Adelaide

NSEC *

Friday November 1 Townsville

v Sydney

Cairns 7:30PM Perth 6:30PM

Perth

7:30PM

7:30PM

Friday November 1

v Wollongong

Saturday November 2 Cairns

v Melbourne

Cairns 7:30PM

Sunday November 3

v SKYCITY Breakers

Wollongong

Sunday November 3

Wollongong

Adelaide

v Sydney

Adelaide 1:30PM Adelaide 7:30PM

2:00PM

ROUND 5

Friday November 8

Adelaide

v Melbourne

Friday November 8

Sydney

v Cairns

Sydney 7:30PM

Friday November 8

v SKYCITY Breakers

Townsville

Sunday November 10

Townsville Melbourne

v Wollongong

Melbourne 2:00PM

7:30PM

ROUND 6 Thursday November 14 Perth

v Cairns

Perth

7:00PM

Friday November 15

v Adelaide

Vector Arena

7:30PM

Friday November 15

v Townsville

Sydney 7:30PM

Saturday November 16 Melbourne

v Cairns

Melbourne 7:30PM

Sunday November 17

Wollongong

v Perth

Wollongong 2:00PM

SKYCITY Breakers

SKYCITY Breakers Sydney

ROUND 7

Friday November 22

Friday November 22

Saturday November 23 Cairns

v Wollongong

Cairns 7:30PM

Sunday November 24

Melbourne

v Townsville

Melbourne 2:00PM

Sunday November 24

Perth

v Sydney

Perth

3:00PM

ROUND 8

Thursday November 28 SKYCITY Breakers

v Melbourne

NSEC *

7:30PM

v Wollongong

Adelaide

7:30PM

Saturday November 30 Cairns

v Perth

Cairns 7:30PM

Sunday December 1

Melbourne

v Sydney

Melbourne 2:00PM

ROUND 9

Friday December 6

v SKYCITY Breakers

Perth

6:30PM

Perth

Friday December 6 Townsville

v Adelaide

Townsville

7:30PM

Saturday December 7 Wollongong

v Sydney

Wollongong 7:30PM

Saturday December 7 Cairns

v Adelaide

Cairns 7:30PM

Sunday December 8 Melbourne

v SKYCITY Breakers

Melbourne 2:00PM Cairns 7:30PM

Friday November 29

Adelaide

Adelaide

v Townsville

NSEC *

v Perth

Adelaide 7:30PM

7:30PM

ROUND 10

Friday December 13

Cairns

v Townsville

Friday December 13

v Perth

Vector Arena

SKYCITY Breakers

Saturday December 14 Sydney

v Wollongong

Sydney 7:30PM

Saturday December 14 Townsville

v Melbourne

Townsville 7:30PM

Sunday December 15

v Cairns

Adelaide 1:30PM

Adelaide

7:30PM

ALL-STAR BREAK FRIDAY DECEMBER 20-SUNDAY DECEMBER 22 ROUND 11

Friday December 27

Melbourne

v Wollongong

Sunday December 29 Sydney Tuesday December 31 Cairns

v SKYCITY Breakers

Sydney

v Perth

Cairns 6:30PM

Tuesday December 31 Townsville

v Adelaide

Townsville 7:30PM

Tuesday December 31 Wollongong

v Melbourne

Wollongong

16 skycity breakers

Please note, tip off times are local times. * NSEC denotes North Shore Events Centre. Denotes Home Games Denotes Away Games.

Melbourne 7:30PM 2:00PM

5:30PM


ROUND

DATE HOME

ROUND 12 Friday January 3 Townsville

AWAY

VENUE

TIME

v Melbourne

Townsville 7:30PM

Friday January 3

Sydney

v Cairns

Sydney 7:30PM

Saturday January 4

v SKYCITY Breakers

Adelaide

Saturday January 4

Adelaide Wollongong

v Perth

Wollongong 7:30PM

Sunday January 5

Melbourne

v Cairns

Melbourne 2:00PM

Melbourne

v SKYCITY Breakers

Melbourne

Perth

v Townsville

Perth 7:00PM

Cairns

ROUND 13 Friday January 10

7:30PM

7:30PM

Friday January 10

Saturday January 11

v Wollongong

Cairns 7:30PM

Sunday January 12 Townsville

v Perth

Townsville 2:00PM

Sunday January 12

Adelaide

v Sydney

Adelaide 1:30PM

Cairns

v Sydney

Cairns 7:30PM

v SKYCITY Breakers

Perth

v Townsville

Adelaide 7:30PM

ROUND 14 Friday January 17

Friday January 17

Saturday January 18

Perth Adelaide

Sunday January 19

Wollongong

v Cairns

Wollongong 2:00PM

Sunday January 19

Sydney

v Melbourne

Sydney 2:00PM

v Wollongong

NSEC * 7:30PM

Friday January 24 Townsville

v Cairns

Townsville

Friday January 24

Perth

v Melbourne

Perth 6:30PM

Sunday January 26

Wollongong

v Melbourne

Wollongong

Sunday January 26

Sydney

v Adelaide

Sydney 2:00PM

v Sydney

Vector Arena 7:30PM

v Cairns

Perth 7:00PM

ROUND 15 Thursday January 23 SKYCITY Breakers

ROUND 16 Thursday January 30 SKYCITY Breakers

Thursday January 30

Perth

6:30PM

7:30PM 5:30PM

Friday January 31 Townsville

v Wollongong

Townsville

Saturday February 1

Adelaide

v Cairns

Adelaide 7:30PM

Sunday February 2

Melbourne

v Perth

Melbourne 2:00PM

ROUND 17 Friday February 7 Townsville

v Perth

Townsville 7:30PM

7:30PM

Saturday February 8

Cairns

v Townsville

Cairns

Saturday February 8

Sydney Wollongong

v SKYCITY Breakers

Sydney 7:30PM

v Adelaide

Wollongong 2:00PM

SKYCITY Breakers

v Cairns

Vector Arena 7:30PM

Wollongong

v Townsville

Wollongong

Sunday February 9 ROUND 18 Friday February 14

7:30PM

Friday February 14

Friday February 14

Perth

v Adelaide

Perth 6:30PM

Saturday February 15

Sydney

v Wollongong

Sydney 7:30PM

Sunday February 16

Melbourne

v Adelaide

Melbourne 2:00PM

Cairns

v Sydney

Cairns 7:30PM

Wollongong Perth

v SKYCITY Breakers

Wollongong 7:30PM

v Melbourne

Perth

ROUND 19 Friday February 21

7:30PM

Friday February 21

Friday February 21

Saturday February 22 Townsville

v Sydney

Townsville 7:30PM

Sunday February 23

v SKYCITY Breakers

Adelaide 1:30PM

v Townsville

NSEC * 7:30PM

Adelaide

ROUND 20 Thursday February 27 SKYCITY Breakers

6:30PM

Friday February 28

Wollongong

v Adelaide

Wollongong 7:30PM

Saturday March 1

v SKYCITY Breakers

Cairns 7:30PM

Saturday March 1

Cairns

Melbourne

v Townsville

Melbourne 7:30PM

Sunday March 2

Sydney

v Perth

Sydney 2:00PM

SKYCITY Breakers

v Melbourne

Vector Arena 7:30PM

Perth

v Townsville

Perth 6:30PM

ROUND 21 Friday March 7

Friday March 7

Saturday March 8

Adelaide

v Townsville

Adelaide 7:30PM

Saturday March 8

Wollongong

v Cairns

Wollongong 7:30PM

Sunday March 9

Melbourne

v Sydney

Melbourne 2:00PM

SKYCITY Breakers

v Sydney

NSEC * 7:30PM

ROUND 22 Thursday March 13

Get your tickets for all the Skycity Breakers games from WWW.nzbreakers.co.nz March 28

THE FINALS COMMENCE 1st v 4TH (best of three)

Friday March 14 Townsville

v Wollongong

Townsville 7:30PM

Friday March 14

Adelaide

v Perth

Adelaide 7:30PM

2nd v 3rd (best of three)

Friday March 14

Cairns

v Melbourne

Cairns 7:30PM

Sunday March 16

Sydney

v Adelaide

Sydney 2:00PM

Winners progress to the

ROUND 23

Friday March 21

v Cairns

Vector Arena 7:30PM

Friday March 21

SKYCITY Breakers Wollongong

v Sydney

Wollongong 7:30PM

Saturday March 22

Sydney

v Townsville

Sydney 7:30PM

Sunday March 23

Adelaide

v Melbourne

Adelaide 1:30PM

Sunday March 23

Perth

v Wollongong

Perth 3:00PM

GRAND FINAL SERIES

(best of three)

If you can’t make a SKYCITY Breakers home game you can watch it live on Sky TV (Sky Sport) and hear it live on Radio Sport. skycity breakers

17


ON A QUEST IN SWAN SONG SEASON:

BRUTON ADOPTS AN ’80s APPROACH By SUZANNE McFADDEN

I

n his swan song season with the SKYCITY Breakers, CJ Bruton has gone “retro” – to prove that at 37, he can be as strong and as vital as he was at 17. “I’m going to show people what they are going to be missing. I want them to remember my name,” the American-born, Australian-raised NBL star says.

more than impressed with the irrepressible Bruton’s philosophy. “He’s come in in the best shape we’ve seen him in the last four or five years. He’s really taken care of his body and he looks outstanding right now. It’s a huge credit to him. His input into everything will be so crucial this year,” he says.

The three-point wizard and game-clincher, who debuted with the Perth Wildcats in 1994, spent the off-season training on his own, adopting a “back to the ‘80s” fitness approach.

The latter part of Bruton’s six-time NBL champion career has been pestered by injuries – an ankle in 2010, an elbow in 2011 and a torn patella tendon last season. For the first time in a long time, injuries weren’t an issue in his preparation for this season.

SKYCITY Breakers coach Dean Vickerman has been

“But, I am getting a bit older,” he laughs. “There’s so much

proud supporters of the SKYCITY Breakers


Not a minute is wasted. If I spend ‘‘ an hour at the gym, you won’t see me sitting down or taking a break…”

technology out there to help you, but I wanted to do all the basic stuff everyone was doing in the ‘80s, not so much what they do in 2013. It’s pretty much how I got started, and how I got selected to play for Australia.” It’s meant foregoing a strength-and-conditioning coach this year, and going it alone. He designed his own eating plan, and focused on cross-training – in the gym one day, the pool the next and pounding the streets on another. “Not a minute is wasted. If I spend an hour at the gym, you won’t see me sitting down or taking a break, only to grab my bag and walk out,” he says. “I’m not spending as much

time on basketball training as in the past; with all the training I’ve done over the years, it’s like riding a pushbike. It’s more about making sure I have the legs, the strength, the power.” It’s also meant having to have the full support of his wife, Jess, and their sons Rio, 6, and Roc, 2. “My wife has been fantastic – she’s given me the time to be able to train the way I have this year, and looked after the boys,” says the dedicated dad, who stresses how crucial it is to spend as much time with his sons as he does playing basketball. It’s a trait he inherited from his father, Cal Bruton, himself an Australian NBL star.

As for a four-peat, Bruton stayed with the SKYCITY Breakers for his last season knowing the side has the nucleus to win another title. “We’ve lost a few key veterans, and this will probably be the toughest year I’ve had since I’ve been a senior leader,” he says. “We’ll take a few more lumps than we have in the past, with the changes in coaching and player personnel. But I know we can do it. And I’m determined to enjoy it as I have every year since I’ve been in New Zealand with this team.”


25 JEREMIAH  TRUEMAN

7 REUBEN  TE RANGI

2013/14 SKYCITY BREAKERS

PLAYER PROFILES Mike LacEy provides the background on each of this season’s SKYCITY Breakers

#

#

Reuben Te Rangi has spent a number of years in the SKYCITY Breakers coaching set up progressing from the Academy to a Development player in 2012 and now to his first season as a contracted player. In 2011 Reuben was a member of the 3on3 team that won a gold medal at the Youth World Championships in Rimini, Italy. In 2012 he was voted Rookie of the Year in the New Zealand NBL after averaging 8 ppg for the Harbour Heat and shooting 44% from behind the 3 point arc. Later in 2012 he captained the Junior Tall Blacks in their three game series against Australia before making his debut for the Breakers against the Townsville Crocodiles in November. He recently debuted for the Tall Blacks providing cover for swingman Tom Abercrombie. Still only 18 years old Reuben will perform the same role for the Breakers this season.

Jeremiah Trueman rejoins the club having played a season in Breakers colours back in 2009-10. Since then he has been an important cog in the Perth Wildcats team, helping them to two Championship Finals series against the SKYCITY Breakers. Jeremiah has played in the New Zealand NBL for the Palmerston North Jets during the past couple of years. A hard working, no frills operator, Jeremiah’s character and skill set are perfect for the club’s requirements – he will provide back up for Alex Pledger at centre. Jeremiah epitomises one of the SKYCITY Breakers’ trademarks as being “relentless”. Every day in practice and every minute he plays all out, and that effort will give the SKYCITY Breakers opportunities to get more ball – he gets rebounds, and dives on any loose ball.

Club Statistics:

Club Statistics:

Appearances: 11

Appearances: 11

Points: 20 at 1.8 ppg

Points: 33 at 3.0 ppg

Most points in a single game: 13 v Melbourne Tigers, 14.3.13

Most points in a single game: 14 v Townsville Crocodiles, 15.2.13

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14 MIKA  VUKONA

21 DARNELL  LAZARE

23 CJ  BRUTON

#

#

#

Mika is the SKYCITY Breakers all time leading rebounder and the only player to have achieved the double of 1000 rebounds and 1000 points. A tireless worker, he is often matched up against much taller opponents, but can compensate for this with his athleticism and dexterity. He has four NBL titles to his credit, having a championship win with South Dragons in 2009 to go with his hat-trick for the SKYCITY Breakers. Mika is the current captain of the NZ Tall Blacks.

Darnell Lazare played last season for the Sydney Kings. The 28-year-old power forward from Louisiana averaged 11.3 points and 7.2 rebounds helping the Kings to the semi finals of the ANBL last season. Ironically, his most productive game of last season was against the SKYCITY Breakers back in February when he scored 25 points and snared 11 rebounds. His 7.2 rebounds per game placed him 5th in the NBL leading rebounder category last season. Expect Darnell to share the power forward spot with Mika Vukona although he is also capable of helping cover the centre position. He will excite fans with his shot blocking and rebounding – has the potential to be the best 6th man in the league.

One of the all time greats of the league and surely a future hall of famer, CJ returns for his sixth and final season with the club. He has won championship rings with three different clubs, Sydney Kings, Brisbane Bullets and of course three times with the SKYCITY Breakers. CJ was the Finals MVP in the 2012 epic three game series against the Perth Wildcats. The senior player on the team, CJ will be looking to make his 17th and final season in the league a memorable one.

Club Statistics: Appearances: 208 – third all time Rebounds: 1390 – leading all time Blocked Shots: 66 – fifth all time Steals: 144 – fifth all time Points: 1459 – fifth all time Most points in a single game: 24 v Wollongong Hawks, 15.2.13

Most points in a single game: 25 for Sydney Kings v SkyCity Breakers, 9.2.13

Club Statistics: Appearances: 152 – fourth all time Points: 1884 –second all time Assists: 408 – fourth all time Steals: 151 – fourth all time Most points in a single game: 32 v Melbourne Tigers, 8.10.09

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35 ALEX  PLEDGER

3 DARYL  CORLETTO

#

#

Alex has played in all three SKYCITY Breakers championship winning teams. Graduated to the starting five last season and finished as the NBL’s leading shot blocker (46 at 1.5bpg) and rebounder (227 at 7.3rpg). He also had his most productive scoring season, notching 331 points at 10.7ppg. A current member of the NZ Tall Blacks.

Daryl is now in his third season with the club after previously making 277 appearances for the Melbourne Tigers during a career that spanned 10 seasons including Championships in 2006 and 2008. Daryl has won two further titles with the SKYCITY Breakers. Last season he was the second leading three point shooter in the NBL (55 from 134 @ 41%) and also shot an impressive 92.7% from the free throw line (38 from 41).

Club Statistics: Appearances: 107– tenth all time Blocked shots: 94 – third all time Rebounds: 578 – eighth all time Points: 843 at 7.9 ppg Most points in a single game: 22 v Melbourne Tigers, 14.3.13

10 TOM  ABERCROMBIE

Club Statistics: Appearances: 65 Points: 631 at 9.7 ppg. Most points in a single game: 26 v Cairns Taipans, 16.12.11

9 COREY  WEBSTER

#

#

Now in his sixth season with the club Tom has progressed from Development player to one of the premier players in the NBL. One of four team members to have played in all three Championship winning teams for the SKYCITY Breakers he was named MVP of the 2011 Finals Series averaging 11 points and 6.7 rebounds per game in a low scoring series. He is a huge asset to the team having the ability to defend multiple positions.

A two times Championship winner Corey Webster is another who is a

Rebounds: 598 – sixth all time

product of the club’s development programme. He has played 68 games for the Breakers since debuting in 2008. Corey enjoyed an excellent season in 2012-13 averaging 7.6 points per game, a season when he backed up Cedric Jackson and also spent some time in the shooting guard spot. He has scored heavily in the NZNBL for the Wellington Saints and more recently for the Tall Blacks, top scoring in both internationals against the Boomers. Corey will be looking to carry some of that form into the upcoming season when again he will be the back up point guard. Club Statistics: Appearances: 68

Steals: 90

Points: 342 at 5.0 ppg

Most points in a single game : 26 v Adelaide 36ers, 30.3.11

Most points in a single game: 23 v Melbourne Tigers, 14.3.13

Club Statistics: Appearances: 136 – fifth all time Blocked Shots: 100 – second all time Points: 1471 – fourth all time

Proud supporters of the

SKYCITY Breakers


2 KERRON JOHNSON

#

22-year-old, 1.85 metre Kerron Johnson, in his first season out of Belmont University, is the new import point guard for the SKYCITY Breakers. During his career at Belmont, Johnson led the Bruins to 102 wins, four regular season championships and three consecutive NCAA tournament appearances. He averaged 14.3ppg and 4.8apg in his senior year and was an All Conference First Team selection for the last two years. Kerron made his first appearance in a SKYCITY Breakers singlet in the first pre-season game on September 10 versus the Melbourne Tigers.

8 Jarrod  KENNY

#

28-year-old guard, Jarrod Kenny joins the SKYCITY Breakers extended squad after successful stints in the New Zealand NBL helping the Bay Hawks to the 2011 regular season title, Kenny debuted for the Tall Blacks back in 2010 and has held his position in the squad since then. Like Corey Webster, Tom Abercrombie and Jack Salt, Jarrod is a product of the Westlake Boys High School basketball programme. The Tall Blacks starting point guard in their recent Oceania Championship series against Australia, Jarrod brings a wealth of experience to the club. In addition to his international appearances he has played in the NZNBL for over 10 years with the Harbour Heat and most recently the Bay Hawks.

DEVELOPMENT PLAYERS 11 DUANE  BAILEY

#

A SKYCITY Breakers Academy player and Junior Tall Black back in 2008 power forward Bailey has played the last three years in the NZNBL. This year he was a member of the Super City Rangers team averaging 11 points and 8 rebounds per game. In 2012 he played for the championship winning Auckland Pirates.

5 jack  salt

#

School premier basketball team, 6�10” centre Jack Salt has shot to prominence in 2013. Still only 17 years old he has played this year for NZ U20s, the Super City Rangers in the NZNBL and the Tall Blacks.

30 ALONZO  BURTON

#

Son of NZNBL great Willie Burton, 20 year old Alonzo has played for Hawke’s Bay in the NZNBL for the past two seasons. The New Zealand age group representative averaged 5 points a game for the Hawks in 2013 shooting a very respectable 36.5% from the three point arc.

13 LUUK  WITTEVEEN

#

Luuk is another player to have progressed through the Harbour Basketball age group programme. In his final year at Rangitoto College, Witteveen has been an Academy player for the past two years. He also played for the Judd Flavell coached NZ Under 18 Men in 2013. Bike

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A PATHWAY TO THE TOP…

Reuben Te Rangi is living every teenager’s dream By Grant Chapman

O

ver the past few years, the young Aucklander has compiled a CV that most hoopsters take a lifetime to accumulate. Te Rangi is about to begin the latest stage of his career as a fully contracted player with the SKYCITY Breakers. It’s a journey that was escalated when he helped New Zealand to victory at the inaugural FIBA 3x3 World Youth Championship title in 2011. Since then, his resume has included starring at Basketball New Zealand (BBNZ) age-group tournaments, captaining the Junior Tall Blacks, earning NBL Rookie of the Year honours, winning an NBL championship title and gaining selection for the Tall Blacks. Te Rangi has become a perfect example of the development pathways now available to young players in New Zealand. “Definitely, the 3x3 title was a highlight, because New Zealand are always underdogs in basketball,” he says.

24 skycity breakers

We hope The Huddle will be supported by fans of the game so we can help more young talent.”

“Basketball New Zealand recognises that the financial burden on our best young players is a barrier to them staying in the game,” says BBNZ chief executive Iain Potter.

But those opportunities have come at a financial cost to his family, who have had to budget as much as $10,000 a year to fund his basketball activities.

Last year, Te Rangi found himself at a crossroads – one that many before him had encountered – and made an important decision.

“My parents always seemed to find a way to get the money,” reflects Te Rangi. “And I’ve been out there fundraising too. “My family definitely helped me through those years.” That cost was one of the big reasons BBNZ created The Huddle – a supporters’ club designed to ease that financial burden on players representing their country.

“We hope The Huddle will be supported by fans of the game so we can help more young talent.”

He became one of a growing number to choose a professional apprenticeship over the college experience. “The Breakers had supported me since I was 13 years old. I figured I owed it to them for all the things they had done for me. “They had given me a good support base here – the Breakers are like my family.” And the choice wasn’t all about money either.

“When I made my decision, it wasn’t the biggest amount of money,” he says. “It was more about how I could best continue to improve as a player.” Few could argue with his choices so far. To support up and coming athletes like Te Rangi, and help give him and his fellow Tall Blacks the best build up as they head to the FIBA World Cup in Spain next year, join The Huddle now.

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2013/14 Team profiles

HOW THE NBL TEAMS STACK UP

By KRIS SHANNON

SKYCITY Breakers

PERTH WILDCATS

Personnel: A brand new set of imports and the passing of the torch from a wily veteran to a promising youngster. Cedric Jackson decided to try his luck in European basketball, moving to Slovenian club Union Olimpija, and the club wasted little time in signing 22-year-old American Kerron Johnson to become the new starting point guard. Darnell Lazare moved across the Tasman after playing for the Sydney Kings last season, and he will fill Will Hudson’s role as the back-up power forward/centre. And the club bade farewell to the retiring Dillon Boucher, handing his roster spot to 19-year-old Kiwi Reuben Te Rangi.

Personnel: Last year’s beaten finalists made the biggest splash in the offseason as they aim to wrest away the crown from their arch-rivals. Swingman James Ennis was the No 50 pick in June’s NBA Draft, before the Atlanta Hawks immediately traded him to the Miami Heat. With the NBA champions not exactly short on talent, they decided to stash Ennis away in Perth, where he has an out-clause should the Heat come calling. Elsewhere, 2012 league MVP Kevin Lisch departed for Italy, with American guard Jermaine Beal being brought in to fill the second import spot.

Prospects: This season will arguably be the biggest test of the SKYCITY Breakers’ dynasty, having lost the coach who guided them to three championships and the player who won the club’s MVP award two years running. But Mika Vukona is still here. Tom Abercrombie didn’t go anywhere. And CJ Bruton will be determined to leave professional basketball with another ring. A lot depends on Johnson, but expect Dean Vickerman to create a cohesive, if perhaps not quite as dominant, unit in rapid time.

Prospects: Perth held the wood over the SKYCITY Breakers in the 2012/13 regular season but any edge they had disappeared in the grand final series, when they were swept. The Wildcats, like the SKYCITY Breakers, are working under a new coach after long-time mentor Rob Beveridge left the club, and Trevor Gleeson will have a talented roster with which to work. It would beno surprise if Ennis leads Perth to the minor premiership, but the Kiwis’ championshipwinning experience may prove the difference in the playoffs.

Key player: Abercrombie. The swingman suffered from sitting out the entire offseason due to ankle surgery before the last campaign. But look for a fully-fit Abercrombie to again ignite the league with his athleticism. Predicted finish: First

Key player: Ennis. The Australian NBL is rarely graced with players drafted in the NBA, let alone those chosen in the most recent draft. If Perth are to close the gap on the NZ team, he’s the man to do it. Predicted finish: Second

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SYDNEY KINGS

MELBOURNE tigers

Personnel: Despite losing Lazare to the Breakers and Ian Crosswhite to retirement, the Kings’ revamped roster shapes up to be stronger than last year’s fourth-placed group. Boomers big man AJ Ogilvy has been recruited after playing collegiate basketball in the United States, while another young Australian playing in the NCAA, forward Cody Ellis, will join up with the Kings after Christmas. In the import positions, Louisiana State University product Charles Carmouche and Jesse Sanders should form one of the best back-courts in the competition.

Personnel: The big offseason news for the Tigers was the return of former club MVP Mark Worthington. The forward, who has been a regular member of the Australian team for a decade, last played in Melbourne in 2010 and returns after trying his luck in European basketball. Canadian centre Scott Morrison, another player with a wealth of European experience, is a genuine seven-footer and will match Alex Pledger for size, while American import Stephen Dennis will run the point.

Prospects: Sydney are shaping to be a formidable foe, but perhaps not until the second half of the season. Last year’s leading scorer Ben Madgen is out until the new year after badly dislocating his ankle while in camp with the Boomers, while Ellis will be another invaluable addition in 2014. The Kings’ made-in-America back-court will be an upgrade over last season, when coach Shane Heal led a young side to a playoff place before being eliminated by the SKYCITY Breakers.

Prospects: The Tigers have been the most impressive side to date in the preseason, beating the SKYCITY Breakers in back-to-back games in New Zealand to remain undefeated. They barely missed out on a playoff place in 2012-13 but they possess a deep enough roster to go one better this season. Worthington’s return is a major boost for the Tigers’ faithful and he will form an experienced core along with a host of re-signed players.

Key player: Ogilvy. His acquisition looks even more important with Madgen missing the first three months at least, and Heal believes Ogilvy will not only be the best big man in the league but a potential MVP candidate.

KEY PLAYER: Dennis. ANBL teams often live and die on their imports, and Dennis will have a big bearing on the Tigers’ hopes. The guard went undrafted after playing division II college ball but went agonisingly close to cracking the NBA after impressing in the D-League.

Predicted finish: Third

Predicted finish: Fourth

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How the NBL TEAMS stack up continued

ADELAIDE 36ERS

cairns taipans

Personnel: The signing of Gary Ervin, after a protracted period of negotiations, instantly made Adelaide playoff contenders. The 2011 league MVP, Ervin will provide a much-needed spark to a back-court bereft of such explosiveness last season. Fellow American Jarrid Frye is the other import, heading downunder after averaging 22.8 points per game playing in Iceland last season, while Tall Blacks forward Benny Anthony will get another shot in the ANBL after being released by the SKYCITY Breakers in 2012.

Personnel: The ANBL will be feature several fine players who have recently played college ball in the States, and the Taipans have one of the best of the bunch. Cairns used their vacant import spot on guard Demetri McCamey who, during a four-year stint with the University of Illinois, was named a finalist for the Bob Cousy award for the country’s top collegiate point guard. The Taipans did lose a lot of experience in Dusty Rychart, Aaron Grabau and Brad Hill, but new recruits Stephen Weigh from Perth and Matt Burston from Melbourne will help to fill the void.

Prospects: Adelaide experienced something of an annus horribilis last season, finishing with an 8-20 record which belied their talent, but expect a new regime to help them bounce back. Former championship-winning coach Joey Wright will replace Marty Clarke but the biggest change comes at point guard. Although Ervin’s mere presence may not be enough to spark a turnaround on his own, he is joining a roster replete with a clutch of experienced ANBL players, all of whom Ervin will improve. KEY PLAYER: Ervin. The 29-year-old won the MVP with Wollongong in 2011, before being the Crocs’ best player and the league’s third-leading scorer last season. He will have a weight of expectation but has the ability to carry it.

PROSPECTS: Cairns were another side who narrowly missed out on the final four last season, finishing a win behind the Kings in fourth spot. They have experienced a high turnover in their roster for this campaign, which makes their outlook difficult to predict, but the players they have brought in should ensure they can make a charge for the playoff places. Key player: McCamey. The 24-year-old has one of the best resumes of any import, and coach Aaron Fearne liked what he saw from the guard during the NBA Summer League in Las Vegas.

Predicted finish: Fifth

Predicted finish: Seventh

WOLLONGONG HAWKS

townsville CROCS

Personnel: Retaining the majority of their roster from last season, the Hawks have made the most of their two import spots, and the recruitment of shooting guard Rotnei Clarke is an exciting one. After playing NCAA basketball with Butler last season – where he was led by new Boston Celtics coach Brad Stevens – Clarke could be one of the league’s leading scorers. American swingman Durrell Summers is the other new addition, coming to Australia after playing professionally in Venezuela, France and the NBA’s Development League.

Personnel: Townsville have filled their import spots with a couple of Americans who will be rather familiar to Kiwi hoops fans. After losing Gary Ervin to Adelaide, the Crocs have given 30-year-old Josh Pace his first crack at the Australian NBL. Pace, a former New Zealand NBL MVP, played with the Nelson Giants last season, but may be overmatched in making the step up. Brian Conklin seems more suited to make the adjustment, with the forward coming off a successful season with Southland.

PROSPECTS: Wollongong was the only side to keep pace with the SKYCITY Breakers and Wildcats in the first half of last season, before falling away as the competition progressed and eventually being eliminated in the semifinals by Perth. Gordie McLeod’s group are always a particularly tough challenge for the SKYCITY Breakers, but it’s unlikely they have enough talent to sustain a serious title charge.

PROSPECTS: This will be a different and possibly difficult Crocs campaign, led by new coach Shawn Dennis and under a new community-based ownership model, which took charge after their financially-stricken former owners handed their licence back to the league. While their mere presence in the league is a victory, they could struggle to secure many more.

Key player: Clarke. Playing for a school that had made the previous two NCAA Championship games, Clarke led the Bulldogs in scoring and three-point field goals, making him a dangerous outside threat. Predicted finish: Sixth

28 skycity breakers

Key player: Peter Crawford. The guard, recovering from injury, will have to carry a lot of the offensive load for the Crocs, given he is playing beside an ANBL rookie in a team who have lost their leading two scorers from last season. Predicted finish: Eighth


Facts and Figures

SHORT SHARP BREAKERS SHOTS Some facts you may not know about the SKYCITY Breakers:

#32 PAUL HENARE

The largest attendance at a SKYCITY Breakers home game was recorded on April 24, 2012 when 9,270 packed in to Vector Arena to watch the second game in the grand final series against the Perth Wildcats. The club made their maiden play-off appearance in the 2007-8 season, beating the Cairns Taipans 100-78 before losing to defending champions, the Brisbane Bullets in the elimination final. In 2011 the SKYCITY Breakers won their first NBL championship title, becoming the first New Zealand team in any sport to win an Australian-based sporting championship. They successfully defended their championship title in 2012 and 2013. The SKYCITY Breakers are only the second club (after the Sydney Kings) to win three consecutive NBL titles. In February 2013, the SKYCITY Breakers set a club record by winning 11 games straight, a record that by mid-March had been extended to 16 straight games and coincided with the team winning their third straight regular season title. 30 skycity breakers

Mika Vukona is the SKYCITY Breakers all-time leading rebounder and the only player to have achieved the double of 1000 rebounds and 1000 points for the club. He has four NBL titles to his credit, having a championship win with South Dragons in 2009 to go with his hat-trick for the SKYCITY Breakers. He is only the second player in NBL history to have won four championships in five years.

New SKYCITY Breakers assistant coach Paul Henare holds the record for the most appearances by a player in a team singlet, playing 250 games before retiring in 2011. To mark his immense contribution to the SKYCITY Breakers, the club retired his number 32 singlet. The same accolade will be bestowed on Dillon Boucher, his number 24 to be retired on the opening night of this season when the SKYCITY Breakers take on the Wollongong Hawks. Boucher retires having played 220 games and with the record of having garnered the most steals by a club player – 289. #24 DILLON BOUCHER

The record for the most points in a single game by a SKYCITY Breakers player is held by American Carlos Powell who scored an incredible 50 points against the Melbourne Tigers in December 2006. Kirk Penney came close to emulating this feat by scoring 49 points against Adelaide 36ers in 2009. However, Kirk does hold the record for the most career points by a SKYCITY Breakers player – 2,517. #21 DARNELL LAZARE

One of this season’s new imports, Darnell Lazare played last season for the Sydney Kings. Ironically the 28-year-old power forward from Louisiana had his most productive game of the season against the SKYCITY Breakers when he scored 25 points and snared 11 rebounds.

One of the all time greats of the league and surely a future hall of famer, CJ Bruton returns for his sixth and final season with the club. He has won championship rings with three different clubs, Sydney Kings, Brisbane Bullets and, of course, three times with the SKYCITY Breakers. Don’t mention it to CJ but he made his NBL debut before team mate Reuben Te Rangi was born. #10 TOM ABERCROMBIE

The SKYCITY Breakers is the only team from outside of Australia to compete in the National Basketball League. The team played its first ever NBL game on October 1st, 2003 against the Adelaide 36’ers, recording a 111-110 win in front of 4000 fans at North Shore Events Centre.

Dean Vickerman takes the reigns as the SKYCITY Breakers head coach for the commencement of the 2013-14 season, just the fourth coach to hold this coveted position. He follows in the footsteps of Jeff Green, Frank Arsego and Andrej Lemanis.

CARLOS POWELL

By MIKE LACEY

Now in his sixth season with the club Tom Abercrombie has progressed from Development player to one of the premier players in the NBL. Only the second SKYCITY Breakers player ever to record 100 blocked shots.


We’ve got them covered for another season

We’ve been sponsoring the NZ Breakers since 2010 and have got them covered again this season as they go for four in a row. To make sure your car, house and contents are covered too, call us for a pre-season check-up. See you at the game.

0800 800 800

lanterninsurance.co.nz

Official insurance sponsor of the SKYCITY Breakers

SKYCITY Breakers 2013  

Your Official Guide to the NBL Championship

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