The Southland Sharks Summer League has been given a resounding thumbs up by SBA Development Officer Dan Peck.
The former Shark has been the driving force of the new League, designed to provide a pathway for local players into the SIT Zero Fees Southland Sharks roster for 2018 and Peck couldn’t be happier with last week’s opening round.
“I think that the level was maybe even a little higher than we thought it would be in terms of intensity. The guys were ready to go and looked good for the first time out, given this is the first time we’ve rolled this league out.”
“We’ve had some players that have really developed over the last couple of years and this is a really good opportunity for them to show their ability in an environment that is catered to their level. The likes of the fringe guys on the Sharks can start to work on their game in a higher capacity than they can in the Sharks training environment. Being able to roll out some younger players and give them a little bit of experience and time on the court at this level has been huge for their development,” Peck said.
His list of impressive week one performances was a long one.
In general, everybody was ready to go and looked good. We’ve got some under-15 and under-17 players in the League and I thought that they owned the challenge of stepping up to that level and I could tell they wanted it and they performed really well.”
“If you saw Riley Hika, who played under-15s this year and this is the first time playing at this level, come on and he brought intensity and brought scoring off the bench and it was a pleasant surprise to see him adjust to this level.”
“Rhys Smolenski (Team Orange) I thought looked really good. He was great outside and inside. He was strong at the rim. It looks to me like he’s got a couple more tools now so if he’s interested in looking at the Sharks next year I think he’s on the right track again.”
“It was good seeing Connor Coll (Team Black) a bit freer and be able to take a lot more shots and do a lot more on the court. He shone out.”
“Alex Wright (Team Black) was given a lot of responsibility for a young fella and he was very comfortable running the show and made some big plays.”
“Lydon Aoake (Team Orange) had great instincts and his feel for the game was really impressive. Sam Lindsay had great energy off the bench for Team Blue and Sam Whittaker was a monster on the boards.”
“In terms of Week Two, Team Blue face Team White. White is a make-up of our potential under-19 players and Blue has got some old heads with Andrew Wheeler and Paratene McLeod, along with some of our younger guys, so our older guys will get to have a run and then we will bring the younger guys in. That will mesh well with the Under-19s.”
“We’re bringing in Cooper Neilson this week, who was a stand-out for our under-19s this year, one of the top scorers at the national tournament, so he will add a lot to the League.”
“Team Black vs Team Orange will be interesting. Black has got a lot of young talent and some tall timber with the front line of Keegan Irwin, Connor Coll and Mac Stodart so that size will be a challenge for Team Orange but they have got the experience and guys that have been around a bit longer, so that will definitely be a blend of experience verses youth.”
“But again, this week will be another opportunity for all players to get in and have a good run and develop and take another step up from last week.”
WEEK TWO SCHEDULE – ILT STADIUM SOUTHLAND COURT 1 6:00pm - Team Blue (0-1) vs Team White (1-0) 7:30pm – Team Black (0-1) vs Team Orange (1-0)