As the 2022 Sal’s NBL season inches closer, teams have remained active to fill out their rosters prior to tip-off on April 28.
One of the marquee signings in recent weeks was star centre Sam Timmins re-signing with the Night n’ Day Otago Nuggets.
Timmins earned several impressive accolades during the 2021 campaign, including Most Outstanding Forward/Centre, Most Improved Player and he was a member of the NZ NBL All-Star Five. He also led the league in rebounds and blocks per game. The 24-year-old’s success earned him a developmental contract with the ANBL’s New Zealand Breakers for the 2021-22 season.
Timmins says the Nuggets hold a special place in his heart.
“Anytime I get to wear the blue and gold of Otago is an opportunity I cherish. The Nuggets are a team that holds a special place in my heart and always will.
“Coach Brent is always an exciting coach to play for, his approach to coaching and allowing players to play with freedom has helped my career massively on multiple occasions and I have no doubt it will again.”
Timmins said he wants to improve his game across the board and do everything he can to help his team win.
“I want to continue to expand the things on the court I am able to do efficiently, and to improve my ability to lead and be a productive teammate in all areas - on the court, in the locker room and away from basketball as well.
“As a team, the goal is never anything other than to win a title,” said Timmins.
The Auckland Tuatara managed to lock in two key pieces from last season in the form of Chris McIntosh and Nick Barrow.
Barrow will be a key cog in the Tuatara’s rotation again this year. The 30-year-old proved effective off the bench for coach Aaron Young, and he’ll have a similar role in 2022. Barrow played 18.5 minutes per game with averages of 4.3 points and 2.8 rebounds.
For McIntosh, the 2022 season marks his third in the Sal’s NBL. He’s been a prominent feature in the 3x3 circuit, helping Auckland to a third-place finish at the 2020 Schick 3x3 Cup and attending the NZ 3x3 Selection Camp Invitational earlier this year.
McIntosh is happy to continue playing at home in Auckland for another season and said leadership is a focus for him in 2022.
“It was a pretty easy decision to stay local. Auckland is where I’ve grown up, I have friends and family here and work too, so I’m happy. The coaches – Aaron, Sonny and Josiah – are all great to play for and they really look after you. They spend a lot of extra hours outside of training looking at film and other things,” said McIntosh.
“This year I think I’ll be put into more of a leadership role which is something I’m happy to work on. Otherwise continuing to be a threat with my jump shot is always a goal of mine each year.”
The Southland Sharks continued their strong offseason with the addition of Dru-Leo Leusogi-Ape. Dru-Leo saw extended minutes with the Taranaki Steelformers Airs last season, compiling averages of 6.6 points, 2.6 assists and 1.4 steals in 14 games. Despite being just 20 years old, he’s already established himself as an athletic defender that can guard multiple positions – a tremendous asset for any team – making him a player to keep an eye on.
Jackson Stent is returning to the Canterbury Rams after last suiting up for the team in 2014. Stent has spent most of his time in America over the past few years, most recently playing for the Houston Baptist Huskies in NCAA Division 1. With some handy experience under his belt, the Christchurch local could find himself in a sizeable role this season.
The 2022 Sal’s NBL season tips-off on April 28 when the Mike Pero Nelson Giants host the Otago Nuggets. The full schedule can be found HERE.
Here’s a look at all the confirmed signings to date:
HAWKE’S BAY HAWKS