The Southland Sharks’ added another new recruit to its 2020 playing roster with the club today confirming Alonzo Burton’s signing for the 2020 Sal’s New Zealand National Basketball League season.
At 26 years of age, Burton is something of a NZ NBL veteran, already with eight seasons under his belt, the last three with the Taranaki Mountain Airs. He is a former Breakers’ development player and he toured Asia with the New Zealand Select team in both 2018 and 2019.
One of the NBL’s deadliest offensive weapons, Burton is the son of former Tall Black Willie Burton and he captained the Airs last season, averaging 16.3 points on 44% shooting from the field, to go with 4.3 rebounds, 2 assists and 1.7 steals per game.
SIT Zero Fees Southland Sharks’ Head Coach Rob Beveridge has had his eye on Burton for some time.
"I am really excited to have Zo (Alonzo) join us at the Sharks. I have followed him for a while now and believe that he is one of the best shooters in New Zealand and know he is a perfect fit for the way we are going to play this season."
“Along with being a great shooter, he is a savvy competitor, who at only 26 years of age has played in the league for a long time and will bring great experience and leadership to the team.”
“With Zo being a fringe Tall Black player, I look forward to working with him to becoming the best player he can be and give him the best opportunity of making the Tall Blacks,” Beveridge said.
Likewise, Burton is delighted to journey south for the next chapter in his already distinguished career.
“I’ve been in the league for a few years now and you see Southland as a great organisation. You see the family culture, the camaraderie within the team and everyone who’s around it and I’ve heard from so many people about how good an environment it is to be a basketball player and how good it is to get better as an individual and as a person,” he said.
“Being in a good environment and going up against the best players in New Zealand and some up-and-coming talent it will be hard not to get better and grow as a player, especially having Bevo (Beveridge) there as a coach. I’m just looking forward to getting down there being a sponge and taking on as much from him as I can to get better and hopefully take the next step in my career.”
“I’m a shooter. I love to shoot the ball, as everyone does these days. I work hard and love to get my team mates involved but I hear it from players when they do scouting reports on me, they say “all he does is shoot” and I can’t argue with them there, I really enjoy shooting it,” Burton said.
Burton is the sixth player to sign for Southland for the 2020 season, joining returning Sharks Jarrad Weeks, Dom Kelman-Poto, Hyrum Harris and Tom Vodanovich, along with fellow new-comer Dane Brooks.
The Sharks still have at least two vacant contracted roster spots to fill with the rest of the squad to feature local players, who will stake their selection claims in the SIT Zero Fees Southland Sharks Summer league which will feature two Southland teams along teams from both Queenstown and Dunedin in a round-robin and finals over a five week competition starting on 25 January.
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.
VIP and Season Passes for all nine home games are available now from ILT Stadium Southland. For details visit sharksbasketball.co.nz/tickets.