Brayden Inger will return for a second season with the Southland Sharks, signing on for the 2022 New Zealand National Basketball League with the southern franchise.
The 22 year old was one of the key contributors for the Sharks in their run to the NBL Final Four in 2021, making his NBL debut and impressing, averaging 14.3 points and 4.5 rebounds per game, in the process setting a new Sharks’ season record for most made three-pointers at 56.
Inger is currently in Cairns where he turned last season’s Sal’s NBL form into a development player spot with the Taipans in the Australian NBL.
“Ahead of last season with the Sharks, winning a championship was the goal and personally my goal was to get to where I am now (in Cairns). Ultimately, I was always going to do what was best for me to get here so coming to the Sharks and playing for a club that is known for being the one of the premier teams in the league and having Bevo (Sharks’ Head Coach Rob Beveridge) and everyone else behind the scenes and then surrounding yourself with 13 other awesome dudes, it was the perfect situation,” Inger said.
Coach Beveridge was delighted Inger’s performance was recognised by Cairns.
“Brayden certainly was one of the finds of the NZNBL last season and I’m so happy his incredible work ethic and dedication to improving was rewarded. No doubt he will come back for his second Sharks’ season even better and my job is to help him continue towards his next goal of making the Tall Blacks and he will be a major part of our team once again,” Beveridge said.
Inger’s start to his Australian NBL career has been punctuated by COVID-related postponements and by a lower leg injury which has impacted his availability but it hasn’t impacted his enjoyment.
“I’m loving the heat and actually it's not crazy different but obviously it is that next level up (from the NZNBL). I’m just trying to push myself that extra bit harder and do the one-percenters and all those smaller things,” he said.
“Obviously the goal coming over here is to get better. I try to take every opportunity and contribute as much as I can. Like anyone, we want to win the championship and then from there hopefully I prove myself and either re-sign as a DP for another year, or take the next step up to a roster spot.”
Inger will join his Sharks team mates following the conclusion of the Australian competition with Southland opening its Sal’s NBL campaign on Saturday 9 April against Taranaki.