The SIT Zero Fees Southland Sharks have confirmed their first signing for the 2021 Sal’s NBL season with Dom Kelman-Poto set to return and play in orange.
Kelman-Poto was a key member of the Sharks’ recent title-winning Schick 3X3 Cup combination and said it was an easy decision to return.
“I’ve been talking with Jill (Bolger, Sharks’ General Manager) since COVID hit and with the conversations I’ve had with her and Bevo (Head Coach Rob Beveridge) it was the right fit for me and what I wanted for my career,” said Kelman Poto.
“For me, next year is about hard work, doing the little things like sprinting the floor and making hustle plays, which is what Bevo is looking for me to do. That’s the culture he is looking for down here, create an environment where guys get better, giving all of us and the younger guys opportunities to get to where they want to be and for me that was a win straight away.”
Coach Beveridge believes Kelman-Poto has a major role to play in 2021.
“It is wonderful news that Dom will be returning to play with Southland Sharks in 2021. Dom is an incredible person and I am really excited to be given the opportunity to coach him next season to help him become the best player he can be,” Beveridge said.
“I know that Dom worked very hard over the past year at developing his game in difficult circumstances and believe with his great work ethic and attitude that he is going to have a great season ahead.”
Kelman-Poto debuted for the Sharks in 2019, averaging 12.9 points and 8.2 rebounds per game, before turning out for the EnviroNZ Franklin Bulls in the Sal’s NBL Showdown earlier this year, averaging 18 points and 7.5 rebounds per game.
His high energetic style earnt him the NBL’s Fans Favourite Player Award in 2019 and General Manager Jill Bolger is delighted to add the first piece to its roster in what is a challenging environment.
“It’s great to start our player announcements with Dom. He epitomises everything we try and be as a club – hard work, family and obviously he is a rare talent. There are still a few questions relating to the timing of the Australian NBL and the ability to access imports due to the border situation, so to get someone like Dom locked in is the best news,” Bolger said.
The 2021 Sal’s NBL begins on 24 April with the Sharks opening their season on the road against the Mike Pero Nelson Giants on 26 April.
Their home opener will be against the Steelformers Taranaki Mountainairs on Thursday 29 April.