Southland’s Tom Cowie is back for his fifth campaign with the Southland Sharks following today’s announcement of his return for the 2023 Sal’s New Zealand National Basketball League.
Cowie, a former national age group representative, played a key part in the Sharks’ title-winning Schick National Cup 3X3 squad last year and was the competition’s leading individual scorer at the National Under-23 Men’s tournament in Auckland in August, something he believed helped rebuild his confidence as a player at the highest level.
“It was a down year for me personally last year. I didn’t play as well as I wanted and fell out of the rotation and you get pretty down on yourself when that happens and start thinking all sorts of things about basketball or not. To do well at 3X3 and Under-23s really built me back up and got me excited about this year and gave me the confidence to know I’m good enough, it’s just building that self-belief,” Cowie said.
He said to be part of the Sharks’ 3X3 victory at home was very special.
“It was cool to be part of that for the Sharks and our community, especially after last season and to be able to do that at home in front of our home crowd was great. I’d never won a national title before as a player so it was just a really cool experience and to be able to do it with Dom (Kelman-Poto), Zo (Burton) and Dru (Leusogi-Ape), guys who I’m close with and were all in the Sharks last year made it extra special,” he said.
Cowie said getting the squad assembled much earlier than usual should hold the Sharks in good stead as they look to the season-opener next month.
“I’m looking forward to running it back with the boys from last year and the new guys in the mix and to playing under Coach Guy (Molloy.) We’ve got all the boys in now and I don’t know if we’ve ever had a pre-season where we’ve had a good few weeks’ lead-in to get to know each other and build the chemistry and have a really good preparation,” Cowie said.
Coach Molloy is looking forward to working alongside Cowie to harnessing his obvious potential.
“I can’t wait to get to work with Tom. He’s a talented young guard that is looking to establish himself as a mainstay NBL player. He’s got a good basketball head on him, a good handle and is a really nice shooter. He’s a really fit athlete who can impact the ball defensively as well. I’m excited to see the work he puts in during our pre-season and through the campaign,” Molloy said.
The Southland Sharks open its 2023 Sal’s NBL campaign on Good Friday (April 7) at 7:00pm against the Manawatu Jets at ILT Stadium Southland in Invercargill. Season tickets to all nine home games are on sale now from Stadium reception with individual game tickets available from Friday. For more information visit sharkbasketball.co.nz.