Junior Tall Black assistant coach Leyton Haddleton has been appointed as Southland Basketball’s new Development Officer.
Haddleton who will take up the role on April 1, will be part of the national under-19 men’s coaching squad for a fifth year when the team travels to Greece for the World Championships in June.
However, before then he will be focused on building on the great work Southland Basketball has put in place over recent years locally.
“The opportunity to look after the emerging talent down south across a varied age groups, boys and girls is the attraction. I’ve also previously worked with Judd Flavell at the NZ Breakers when I was team manger (2015-16) and so getting to work alongside Juddy again is a nice bonus,” Haddleton said.
“It’s exciting times to be part of the sport which is growing so rapidly. I think at a basic level, you just need a ball and hoop and you can entertain yourself for hours on end, watching highlights on YouTube and then trying to emulate them. It’s an easy thing to do with your mates and generally you can get some friends together at a social or competitive grade.”
“I love showing what basketball can bring in general life skills, the commitment you need to be part of a team and how that transcends into everyday life. That’s what Southland does so well with the Sharks, giving back to the community and that really excites me about coming down to Southland,” he said.
“I really want to create that pathway for our kids through our representative programmes to see Southlanders playing for the Sharks or in national programmes and, if they choose to, look at options in America to use basketball to get an education and as a vehicle to better their lives.”
“That’s an elite pathway I know, but if we can show its possible then we will show we are one of the most associations in the country and that should be our focus, Haddleton said.
Southland Basketball General Manager Jill Bolger is delighted the organisation has been able to attract Haddleton south.
"We are really excited to have been able to attract someone of Leyton’s quality and experience to our programme. He comes with excellent skills and the fact he is willing relocate, with his partner, from Auckland shows us that he is motivated and dedicated to our role and the further growth of our players and programmes. I am sure that Leyton is going to add his own personality and ideas to our existing initiatives and expand on the great work that his predecessor, Dan Peck, has put in place. We are really looking forward to getting Leyton here and getting him started," Bolger said.