THE SIT Zero Fees Southland Sharks continues to build its 2021 playing roster with confirmation United States players Daniel Alexander and Courtney Belger and Aucklander Brayden Inger are joining the team.
A St Louis native, Belger had split time in recent years between Australia and Germany, including the past four seasons at FC Schalke 04, where he had played in the German Pro A League since 2018.
He was a consistent performer, averaging 14 points, four assists and five rebounds per game and had Southland Sharks’ head coach Rob Beveridge’s (Bevo) coaching network to thank for his landing in Invercargill.
“Playing in Western Australia my strength and conditioning coach and some of the guys I went up against are all tight with Bevo and they obviously said some nice things, so when I got the call it all just fell into place,” Belger said.
“I didn’t play this last season. My wife (professional women’s player Ali Schwagmeyer) and I have been apart playing in different countries for a long time so with the way the world is right now it was a good opportunity to watch her play and Sydney was one of the best situations. I was looking at playing in one of the State Leagues but to get to New Zealand and the Sharks is perfect,” he said.
Alexander’s forward career was highlighted by two years in the NBA G-League, including winning the 2017-18 Championship with the Austin Spurs, following a college career at Texas A&M and Grand Canyon. He also had stints playing in Australia, where he won a SEABL title with the Mount Gambier Pioneers and, most recently, time in the Swedish National League before a knee injury cut short his 2019 campaign.
“I’ve been a huge fan of Coach Bevo (Rob Beveridge) and I’ve been looking for an opportunity to play for him.
“Everyone tells me how great the Sharks’ community and organisation is and I just want to come in and make a positive contribution. I really do feel like the stars have aligned to get me to New Zealand to play for coach Bevo,” he said.
Beveridge was elated to finally get to work with Alexander, after many years of trying.
“Daniel is a 6’9 (2.06m) athletic and versatile forward who can play multiple positions with the ability to play inside as well as being an exceptional three-point shooter who can also get to the rim off the dribble. I have no doubt that everyone in Southland is going to love having Daniel as part of our team on and off the court,” he said.
Inger had spent two seasons playing for the Geraldton Buccaneers in the NBL1 West League where he was suited up alongside Sharks’ legend James Paringatai, helping the club to its first league title in 2019.
The 2.03m guard was delighted to be home and couldn’t be happier to make Invercargill his new basketball home.
“With all that’s going on, coming home made sense and for any young guy who has the goal of cracking the Australian NBL, playing for Bevo and the Sharks ticked all the boxes,” he said.
Inger was a man in demand with multiple New Zealand landing spots on offer.
“Brayden is a high character person who I believe has the potential to be a full-time professional player and a future Tall Black,” Beveridge said.
The New Zealand National Basketball League was this week finalising its application to Immigration New Zealand for import players to be granted critical worker exemption for the 2021 season.
The 2021 Sal’s NBL would tip off on April 24.
The SIT Zero Fees Southland Sharks would open their season on the road in Nelson on Monday, April 26, with their first home game at ILT Stadium Southland against the Taranaki Mountainairs on Thursday, April 29, at 7.30pm.spy offersDior x Nike Air Force 1 Low White Grey To Buy DN8608-002