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September 23, 2006 at 10:04 pm #10445
The Mighty Harvey Norman NZ Breakers have signed Australian young gun Ryan Kersten to strengthen their guard stocks for the 2007/08 Philips Championship season.
An Australian Institute of Sport graduate, the 20-year-old has American college experience virtue of two years at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque but is yet to play in the NBL.
Breakers general manager Richard Clarke said Kersten had the credentials to make an immediate impact, but was signed for two years with an eye to the future.
“We’ve had nothing but positive feedback about Ryan’s ability and commitment and we’re certain he’ll push for plenty of court time as a back-up point guard or in the shooting guard spot,” Clarke said.
Clarke said Kersten’s signing may change the make-up of the Breakers’ roster and it was increasingly likely that coach Andrej Lemanis would run an extended squad of eleven.
“For the past four years we’ve run a roster of ten, supplemented by our development players. We’re keen to add a player like Ryan into the mix because it creates more competition and we also future-proof ourselves in case of injury.
“Andrej is still on the hunt for our two allowable imports and we’ll be keeping a close eye on the New Zealand NBL as we put the finishing touches on the roster.”
Kersten himself is eager to slip into whatever role Lemanis earmarks for him.
“I’m keen to help out in any way possible,” Kersten said. “Hopefully I can help the Breakers achieve their goals through being a team player and bringing a degree of steadiness and control to the guard line when called upon.”
“My chief focus will be looking after the ball, keeping things organised and getting the ball into the hands of our key players.”
Kersten said being in the AIS system that has spawned talents like Brad Newly and Joe Ingles has been the key driver in his development.
“I learnt so much at the AIS and the experience was instrumental in generating the opportunities I’ve had,” Kersten said.
“I enjoyed my college basketball experience in the States, but I was ready to come home after two years and I can’t wait to link up with the Breakers. I worked with Andrej at junior level, respect him as a coach and I’m keen to repay the faith he’s shown in me.”
Kersten will play for the North Adelaide Rockets during the winter, but his next gig is fronting up to play alongside many of his former AIS team mates, including Ingles. The graduates will take on the current Australian U-19 squad as part of the Emus’ build-up to the 2007 FIBA U19 world championship in Serbia this July.
The Breakers’ signings to date are Paul Henare, Ryan Kersten, Brent Charleton, Aaron Olson, Oscar Forman, Mika Vukona, Tony Ronaldson and Tim Behrendorff.
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