The SIT Zero Fees Southland Sharks’ 2020 recruitment drive continued today with a new name announced to complement the return of the core of last season’s squad.
Taranaki’s Dane Brooks will suit up for the Sharks in next year’s Sal’s New Zealand NBL, adding his name to a roster the includes returning 2019 Sharks Jarrad Weeks, Dom Kelman-Poto, Hyrum Harris and Tom Vodanovich.
For Sharks’ Head Coach Rob Beveridge, Brooks’ signature is the perfect early Christmas present.
“It is really exciting news that Dane has chosen to come to the Sharks. I believe Dane has the potential to be an extremely good player and I look forward to working with him to become the best player he can be.”
“His natural athleticism, his toughness and ability to defend multiple positions will make Dane a huge asset to our team,” Beveridge said.
Brooks, who has just turned 23 has been a member of the Taranaki Mountain Airs for six of the past seven seasons, averaging career highs in both points (11.6 per game) and rebounds (4.75 per game) last season.
The 1.88-metre guard was nominated for both the 2019 Sal's NBL Most Improved Player and Defensive Player of the Year Awards and believes Southland is the perfect place to further develop his game.
“For me the main thing that got me to Southland was reputation. It’s a small world and you hear from people about all sorts of teams and Southland is one where there are multiple people saying great things about the place,” he said.
“I didn’t take basketball too seriously until the start of last year so it’s something I’m really looking to pursue now and so looking to be super-professional about it and with the Sharks it will be something I can learn from and help contribute to.”
“Without the Airs help I wouldn’t have been in this position and I want to thank them for that, but it’s time to take the next step in my career.”
Unsurprisingly, the chance to play under Beveridge to further elevate his game played a large role in his decision.
“Bevo is a straight-up guy. Most teams are looking to say what you want to hear but he wasn’t afraid to say how it is and I really respect that. He doesn’t try to please players just to get them down there. He’s looking for the best team possible and getting the best players for that.”
Meanwhile, Coach Beveridge is delighted with how his first Sharks’ roster is coming together for 2020.
“I am extremely happy with the players that we have signed to date as we are assembling a group of players with high character and I am sure they will represent the Sharks with distinction,” Beveridge said.
The Sharks’ planning for next year continues behind the scenes, while on the court the SIT Zero Fees Sharks Summer League for locally-based players tips off on January 25th, featuring two Southland-based squads along with teams from Queenstown and Dunedin.
2020 Sharks’ VIP and Season Passes to all nine home games are on sale from ILT Stadium Southland, which closes for the Christmas this Sunday, re-opening on January 6th. For details visit sharksbasketball.co.nz/tickets.
Image via Photosport NZ