The Southland Sharks added another key piece to its 2022 National Basketball League roster, today announcing the signing of 2.18-metre tall centre Romaro Gill for the upcoming season.
Jamaican-born Gill played for the Wellington Saints last season and spent his off-season playing Summer League with the LA Lakers before signing with the Toronto Raptors’ G League team and then returning to New Zealand and landing in Invercargill for his second NBL campaign.
For coach Rob Beveridge, after bringing the 27 year-old south for a visit last week, the decision to sign Gill was an easy one.
“It’s very easy when you are recruiting players to watch video tape and see what they are really good at but what I wanted to see was his character. At Southland, just like the All Blacks, we have got a no dickheads policy. We brought him down last week knowing that he was an elite defender and that he will rebound and change shots and will be something that we have probably never seen in Southland, but what I was looking at was who he was as a person, his character and how he fitted in with the group and everything was a tick. He’s a great person, he wants to get better and be part of our club,” Beveridge said.
Having confirmed Gill’s fit with his team mates off the court, Beveridge is just as excited about what the big man will bring to his squad on the floor.
“From a style of play perspective, I want us to be more aggressive defensively. We have got some toughness and athleticism in our guards so I want us to get after it, knowing they’ve got the big fella in behind them and if they get beat off the dribble, you’ve got an elite defender with a 7 foot 9 wing-span who is athletic and led the Big East (American College conference) in blocked shots and was their Defensive Player of the Year. That’s who he is going to be. We’re not needing 20-points a game, we need him to dominate the game defensively and intimidate,” Beveridge said.
Gill said he has immediately felt at home in Invercargill.
“Everybody has been great and there’s a real family feeling. It makes me feel like I’ll be in good hands. Coming down for my visit was great to meet the guys and coach and see the bond that the team has which is what you want,” Gill said.
“It’s a good group of guys and they’ve helped me a lot already and are taking great care of me. I’m really happy to be back in the NZNBL with the Sharks and my job is to do everything I can to help get us to the top,” he said.
Gill is the first import signing for the Sharks for 2022 with a second international player to be confirmed over the next week.
The Sharks commence their 2022 campaign against the Wellington Saints on Friday 29 April from 7:30pm at ILT Stadium Southland with yesterday's Government announcement of a move to the orange traffic light setting meaning no restriction on crowd numbers for the season-opener.