The SIT Zero Fees Southland Sharks added the final piece of its 2018 roster today and the team’s third import player finds it ironic New Zealand is to be his latest basketball destination.
Canadian international forward Conor Morgan was a key part of his country’s upset Silver medal-winning campaign at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games, which included a heart-breaking last second victory over New Zealand’s Tall Blacks.
“It’s funny a team in New Zealand has offered me a contract, two weeks after that semi-final. It was honestly the best experience of my life. The semi-final was obviously the climax of the tournament for us and it was something we were building towards since the day we met as a team,” he said.
“We peaked at the right time and everything just came together for us to beat New Zealand. I don’t think our team could probably play any better, so your guys definitely took our best shot. We still had to hit a game-winner with five seconds to go, which goes to show how strong the New Zealand league is,” Morgan said.
The 203cm forward is taking his first steps in the professional ranks after graduating from the University of British Columbia, where he earned back-to-back Conference MVP and First Team All Canadian honours.
“I’m a high energy guy. I like to make the right basketball play and get my team mates involved. I think my game translates very well to the things that Judd (Flavell) is trying to impose on the team. He’s trying to get up and down really fast in transition and that’s something I like to do.”
“The biggest thing with Team Canada at the Commonwealth Games, is that we wanted to get better from game to game. I think that will be a motto at the Sharks. We’ll try and get better every game to peak at the right time for the finals, when it’s money time,” Morgan said.
SIT Zero Fees Southland Sharks Head Coach Judd Flavell was impressed with what he saw from Morgan at the Commonwealth Games.
“He showed with what he put on the floor for Canada that he was a great fit for our programme. He’s young and super-keen to get out here and start his pro career. Just from our initial talks, I already love the excitement that he has and his enthusiasm, and he hasn’t even got here,” Flavell said.
“He is a three-point threat, which is what we are looking for and he’s got the ability to put the ball on the floor. Being 6’8 with a big wing span, he’s certainly going to cover some space around the court.”
Flavell believes the Sharks set-up will serve Morgan well, as he embarks on his professions basketball career.
“The Sharks really suits guys who are looking to fast-track their development as a player. If you look at recent history where guys here have gone on to international duties or picked up pro contracts, the club has had great results and I’m sure Conor will be no different. Just like our other imports, Orlando (Coleman) and Jarrad (Weeks), it’s a great fit for both parties,” Flavell said.
Morgan is expected to link with his Sharks team mates this weekend with the timing of his on-court debut subject to the necessary FIBA international clearances.
The Southland Sharks open their 2018 campaign in the Sal’s NBL with a road doubleheader, starting against the Bay Hawks at Pettigrew Green Arena in Taradale tonight (Thursday), followed by a rematch of last year’s Grand Final against the Wellington Saints on Friday night. Both games start at 7pm and both will be live-streamed.
The Sharks first home game at ILT Stadium Southland is against the Manawatu Jets on Thursday 10 May from 7pm.
Individual game and season tickets are available now from ILT Stadium reception with details at www.sharksbasketball.co.nz/tickets.