The Southland Sharks today confirmed the return of this year’s team captain, Dom Kelman-Poto for the 2022 New Zealand National Basketball League.
A fan favourite in the south and nationally, Kelman-Poto will suit up for a third season in orange, following a standout campaign this year which saw him average 18 points, eight rebounds and three assists per game and culminated in his naming in the Sal’s NBL’s All Star Five for 2021.
“I want to get to that next level and the best place to do that is with Bevo (Sharks’ Head Coach Rob Beveridge) down in the Shark Tank. I’ve just got to work even harder and with the group of guys we’re putting together just grind every day and all take it up another level. Obviously we want to win a championship so I’m really excited about next season to go and get it,” Kelman-Poto said.
Being Auckland-based has made the last few months in lockdown challenging and the man known as DKP is busting to get to Invercargill to get to work.
“I actually enjoyed the family time and relaxed but I did miss basketball and it’s different training with other people than by yourself. I just concentrated on cardio – we have a big rugby ground next to our house so I was able to go there every day and do cardio and resistance training. I actually lost a few kilos over lockdown but now everything has opened up, I’ve put them back on again so I’m really ready to get back to basketball.”
Head Coach Rob Beveridge knows what a coup it is for the club to again secure the services of the standout forward.
“Having an incredible 2021 season where Dom was voted as our MVP, there were many clubs chasing his signature and it is great that Dom made the decision to re-sign with Southland. His versatility and uncanny scoring ability will again make him an integral part of our club for 2022,” Beveridge said.
Like all of the Sharks players, Kelman-Poto’s work with the community and the Sharks’ supporters is a major attraction to return to the deep south and he said his stand-out hair colouring and styling is as all about the fans, including his number one fan, son Chance.
“He loves it. It’s really easy to see me out on court and the kids in Southland love it too. I really like how the community got into it and to see kids smiling after the game telling me how they really like my hair and all the banter about which colour it should be next is a nice conversation to have with the fans,” Kelman-Poto said.
He will travel south with his family early in January which will also include some development work with Southland Basketball and to ensure there are no further disruptions to his pre-season training schedule, due to Auckland’s COVID battles.
The Sharks will open the 2022 Sal’s NBL at ILT Stadium Southland on Saturday 9 April against the Taranaki Mountainairs. Tickets for the season will go on sale in February.