Tall Black and Breakers’ forward Tom Vodanovich is the latest to add his name to the SIT Zero Fees Southland Sharks’ roster for the 2020 Sal’s New Zealand National Basketball League.
Vodanovich will return for a third season with the Sharks, signing on to join 2019 team mates Jarrad Weeks, Dom Kelman-Poto and Hyrum Harris, after being a man in demand following his continual rapid development over the last two NBL seasons.
“For me, it came down to the place that you are most comfortable with. Obviously every NZ NBL team is trying to compete and win a championship so everyone will tell you what you want to hear to try and get you to sign but I’ve had such opportunity and good times down in Southland so it was an easy decision,” Vodanovich said.
“Yeah, there were conversations with a few other teams but I know everyone down there, I know what to expect, how well we get looked after and the crowds we get every week, so when you take all that into account it really was an easy decision,” he said.
Vodanovich starred for the Sharks in last year’s Sal’s NBL Final 4 loss to eventual-champion, the Wellington Saints scoring a team-high 23 points to go with 7 rebounds in front of Breakers’ Director of Coaching Dan Shamir. It helped earn Vodanovich a full roster spot for the Auckland-based team to go with his Tall Blacks debut earlier this year.
“It’s been a hectic but very rewarding few years and I do owe a lot to coming down to Southland that first season back (from the United States) really developed me and put my name in front of the right people and helped me earn spots and progress so the aim isn’t to plateau, it’s to keep going up,” he said.
“We’ve had a lot of success in the small amount of time (two seasons) I’ve been down there. Obviously last year didn’t quite finish as planned but we were right there and bringing back a lot of the key parts that we had last year gives us a chance to push for that championship again.”
“We had a great group of guys on and off the court so seeing all the guys returning definitely added to the decision process, Vodanovich said.”
Securing Vodanovich for 2020 was a key priority for SIT Zero Fees Southland Sharks’ Head Coach Rob Beveridge.
“We are really pleased to be able to re-sign Tom for another year with the Sharks. He continues to become a better player every year and I am looking forward to Tom providing the team with toughness and bringing his competitive nature to the team,” Beveridge said.
The 2020 Sal’s NBL tips off on Thursday 9 April with the Sharks’ starting on the road against the league’s newest addition, the Franklin Bulls on Friday 10 April. ILT Stadium Southland will host the Sharks home opener against the Manawatu Jets on Friday 24 April.
All 75 games next year will be broadcast on Sky Sport with as many as 49 games live-streamed on Stuff.co.nz.