The Southland Sharks today added one of the Sal’s NBL’s brightest prospects to its 2023 roster with the announcement Dru-Leo Leusogi-Ape will return for a second season in the south.
The explosive guard flashed his undoubted athleticism last season and was one of new Head Coach Guy Molloy’s priorities when putting together his squad for the upcoming season.
Leusogi-Ape played in all 18 games for the Sharks last year, averaging a shade under ten points per game on 48 percent shooting from the field and backed up his impressive debut Sharks’ season by being named Schick 3X3 Cup Most Valuable Player, helping Southland secure back-to-back national titles in October last year.
“This year is going to be fun and will open new opportunities. Coming down and winning the 3X3 last year was great. I think it proved that we had something, but it just didn’t click last (NBL) season. We showed we can still hoop, and I think there are a lot of people curious about how the Sharks will go this season so I’m excited about that,” Leusogi-Ape said.
The appeal of working under Molloy was a strong reason Leusogi-Ape resigned for another year in orange.
“Guy has been great. He seems confident in my game which is what I need, a coach who is prepared to give me a shot to help get my game to the next level. I believe in him, and he believes in me so I think we will gel together easily and it won’t be difficult,” he said.
Head Coach Guy Molloy shares his 21-year-old guard’s excitement about the season ahead.
“Dru-Leo is a phenomenal athlete with tremendous downhill speed. I will be looking for him to consistently impact games at both ends of the floor. I’m also hoping to influence his decision-making so that he starts to become an elite level guard in NZ basketball,” 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 next month.
Dru-Leo Leusogi-Ape in action for the Southland Sharks against the Nelson Giants during the 2022 Sal's New Zealand National Basketball League