When it comes to signing overseas basketball talent to New Zealand NBL rosters, personal recommendations are vital. So, it helps when one of Australasia’s most respected coaches is the one handing out the plaudits.
The SIT Zero Fees Southland Sharks today announced the signing of American import Orlando Coleman to its 2018 roster and reigning Australian NBL championship-winning coach Dean Vickerman of Melbourne had a big hand in Coleman’s southern sojourn.
“I was able to be coached by Dean Vickerman at a camp in Vegas over summer and he was very supportive in helping me and talking with Coach Judd (Flavell) to enable me to connect me with him. I thought it was a great opportunity for me to come and play and I’m just flattered to be able to be a part of a great organisation at the Sharks,” Coleman said.
Coleman is taking his first steps in the professional ranks after three years of college ball at Kennesaw State and Texas Southern, where he graduated with a Masters’ Degree in Health and Human Performance.
Stops in Canada and Mexico were then followed by his signing for Radnicki in the Serbian National League where he is currently leading the league in points per game (22.94) as well as in the League’s top five in rebounds (7.69) and steals (1.62).
“I’m just getting things started. It’s early for me but it has been a good ride so far and I just hope I can continue the success coming down there to help our team win a championship. That’s my goal. I haven’t won a championship yet, so that’s the most important thing. I like to win,” Coleman said.
Sharks Head Coach Judd Flavell is excited by what Coleman will bring to his 2018 line-up.
“His YouTube account is full of highlights and I think he can quickly add plenty more. He plays with a lot of energy and is always involved in the middle of the action at both ends, given the physical specimen that he is. He’s someone I can probably challenge and put him on the opposition’s best offensive player to go and defend him or offensively go and make plays. At this stage of his career he’s hungry and wants to take his game to the next level and I see this as a great opportunity for him to do that with the Sharks,” Flavell said.
“Coming to New Zealand as a great player is one thing but being able to contribute to the team culture is just as important. I’m looking forward to Orlando contributing to our culture and with the loss of Hayden (Allen) and Wala (Duane Bailey) I’m looking to all our players to establish to our team identity. In a way it is an exciting new feel with the group.”
Coleman joins Australian Jarrad Weeks as the squad’s two contracted import players for 2018 and with the NBL increasing the maximum to three imports per team, Flavell continues to weigh his options.
“We are looking and we will wait and see if the right player shows up. We’ve put together a great roster so far and there’s no need to rush into this next import spot. That’s what the off-season is about, finding the right player, the right person, who is in the right stage of their career. It’s about putting in the homework to recruit the best possible fit for your team,” he said.
The Sharks play the 2018 season opener on Thursday April 26th in Taradale against the Bay Hawks and, after spending two weeks on the road, start a seven-week home stretch against the returning Manawatu Jets at ILT Stadium Southland on Thursday 10th May.
Season tickets to all nine home games are on sale now at ILT Stadium Southland, with individual game tickets on sale from Monday.
INTRODUCING ORLANDO COLEMAN
College: Texas Southern University (2015-16)
Previous Teams: KW Titans – Canada (2016-17), Cabelleros – Mexico (2016-17), Radnicki – Serbia (2017-18)