The SIT Zero Fees Southland Sharks confirmed the first piece of its 2018 New Zealand National Basketball League roster with today’s announcement of Reuben Te Rangi as its first player signing for next season.
Te Rangi, whose ANBL team, the Brisbane Bullets, is in the United States preparing to face the NBA’s Phoenix Suns this weekend, returned to the Shark’s setup after a two-year absence last season.
He finished the year as one of the Sharks’ top performers, leading the team in per game Points (14.8), Steals (1.1) and Minutes (30.7) and in the top four for rebounds (4.8) and assists (3.4).
That consistency saw him named Tall Blacks captain for the first time for the FIBA Asia Cup in Lebanon in August.
Southland Sharks’ General Manager Jill Bolger said it was no coincidence Te Rangi was the first to ink a deal for 2018.
“We are all so proud of all that Reuben has achieved over the past 12 months. He is without doubt a leader on our team and to watch him blossom with that extra responsibility as both a player and a man for the Sharks and the Tall Blacks over the last year is a real credit to both him and his family,” Bolger said.
Likewise, Sharks Head Coach Judd Flavell was delighted to confirm Te Rangi for what will be his fourth season in Invercargill.
“I saw a huge step-up in the way Reubs approached games and practice last season and the leadership he brought. You could see he was someone who was very focussed and knew what he wanted which, from a coach’s perspective, is the perfect athlete to take in and work with.”
“He’s a natural leader. You saw him taking that leadership within the Tall Blacks programme and hopefully with the Bullets he can continue to find his grove in his second season there. He brings to the table that new level of professionalism now with the competitiveness that he’s always had,” Flavell said.
The 2018 New Zealand National Basketball League features eight teams, including the reinstated Manawatu Jets and will commence on April 26, a later start due to the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games.
A final draw is still to be released with nine games expected to be scheduled for ILT Stadium Southland during the season.