The SIT Zero Fees Southland Sharks continues to build its 2021 National Basketball League playing roster with Canterbury’s Toby Gillooly the latest to put pen to paper.
The 22-year-old six foot four guard joins Dom Kelman-Poto and Alonzo Burton as confirmed signings for next year’s Sal’s NBL and is yet another player attracted south by the chance to develop his game under the tutelage of Sharks’ Head Coach Rob Beveridge.
“When I talked to Bevo (Beveridge) and heard how he wanted to play, the winning culture that he is known for and how he wanted to develop me as a person and as a player, it just ticked all the boxes,” Gillooly said.
“Next year is a big year in my basketball career. After the challenges of this season I have learnt not to put too much in concrete too early because anything can happen, but I know the Sharks will put me in a position to be the best that I can be and I know that rewards will come from that if I put the work in,” he said.
Gillooly is a born and bred Cantabrian who played all his High School basketball in Christchurch before a year-long stint in the United States College system. He was a member of the 2017 Junior Tall Blacks team that played in the World Champs in Egypt and played in the NBL for the Nelson Giants in 2018 and the Canterbury Rams in 2016 along with the last two seasons.
After helping the Rams to a 2-0 start in this year’s Sal’s NBL Showdown in Auckland, including a game-high 25 points in the team’s opener against the Huskies, Gillooly suffered an injury which curtailed what was shaping up to be a career campaign.
Coach Beveridge sees Gillooly as a perfect fit with his plans for next season.
“It is really exciting to have Toby join us at the Sharks. He is a very mature and talented young player with a great attitude and will provide the team with some excellent perimeter scoring that I am sure our fans will enjoy,” Beveridge said.
“We want to play a very up-tempo style of game and be relentless at both ends of the floor and his attributes as a player and person will ensure he fits in really well.”
Gillooly agrees with his coach’s assessment.
“I play with a lot of energy and pride myself at being the first to the floor and on guarding our opponent’s best players. I’m growing my offensive game and can shoot the three-ball and get to the rim, but for me it’s my defence, energy and hustle plays that I pride myself on,” Gillooly said.
The Sal’s NBL tips off on April 24 with the Sharks opening their season on the road in Nelson on Monday 26 April before its first home game at ILT Stadium Southland against the Taranaki Mountainairs on Thursday 29 April at 7:30pm.