The Southland Sharks continue to build a strong roster ahead of the New Zealand National Basketball League, today adding rising talent Dru-Leo Leusogi-Ape to its squad for 2022.
Leusogi-Ape is considered one of the games rising talents after bursting onto the scene as a 17-year-old at the 2019 Pacific Games, where he averaged 19.8 points, 7.8 rebounds and 1.8 assists per game for Samoa.
Now 20 years old, with two seasons of Sal’s NBL experience on his resume for the Franklin Bulls and Taranaki Mountainairs, the explosive 1.88 metre guard is ready to take the next step in his career with the Sharks.
“For me it’s about trying to feel more comfortable on court and know I can be more confident in my game. Bevo (Sharks’ Head Coach Rob Beveridge) is a great dude and he really wants me there and the Sharks organisation has been amazing putting forward what they have for me. Rob is telling me his background and playing for him will be a great pathway for me to take the next step in my career,” Leusogi-Ape said.
“I started playing when I was just 5 or 6. My dad used to play NBL for the Saints a few years ago so it was watching him play and then following in his footsteps. The Pacific Islands are known for rugby and everyone wants to be big hitters so it was a different path I took,” he said.
However the renowned Pacific Island flair is something fans of the Sharks will enjoy when Leusogi-Ape is out on court.
“I like to play fast. My game is to grab the ball and go. I like to pass a lot and when I need to go and get a basket I’ll go get one,” he said.
Coach Beveridge is looking forward to the chance to help shape Leusogi-Ape’s career and believes the southern basketball community is in for a treat this season.
“Dru is a very athletic young guard who has huge potential to develop into a very good scoring guard. His ability to get to the rim with his athleticism will surely wow the Southland Sharks fans,” Beveridge said.
The 2022 Sal’s NBL tips of early April with the Sharks opening their season at ILT Stadium Southland on Saturday 9 April at 5:30pm against Taranaki.
Image via Photosport NZ